Melodie Gliniewicz, wife of Fox Lake officer who shot himself to cover up crimes, gets probation

Melodie Gliniewicz, widow of disgraced Fox Lake police lieutenant Joe Gliniewicz, was sentenced Tuesday to 24 months probation.

She pleaded guilty to one count of deceptive practices in February. As part of the agreement, all other preexisting counts were dropped against her. 

Melodie Gliniewicz was accused of assisting her husband in embezzling money from the Fox Lake Police Explorer program, which helped young people who were interested in a career in law enforcement.

In sentencing Gliniewicz, Lake County Judge James Booras said that there was no indication that Gliniewicz took any money from the Fox Lake Explorers Post that her husband oversaw. Booras said her involvement was totally the result of her late husband, Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Joe Gliniewicz’s scheme to use thousands of dollars from the program’s funds to pay for a vacation, meals, health club membership and other personal expenses.

Further, he said, "The defendant appears to be rehabilitated."

The sentencing came after an all-day hearing during which Gliniewicz tearfully told the judge that she did not know the extent of her husband’s use of the money from the Fox Lake Explorers program and, in fact, paid money back when she learned what had happened.

"I never took a cent from the Explorers fund, no matter what has been reported," she said.

Gliniewicz said she has been punished daily for what her husband did, telling the judge that she has been unable to find a job "because of my name" and that her husband’s grave has been defaced by vandals.


The Gliniewicz case stunned the Chicago area for weeks back in 2015. It all began when Lt. Gliniewicz was found fatally shot, with his last radio transmission blaming two men. A manhunt was launched. 

The department helped give Gliniewicz a hero's funeral, and then, police discovered that Gliniewicz had actually shot himself. He had been under investigation for embezzlement at the time.

Melodie Gliniewicz was arrested and charged with helping her husband – and blowing thousands of stolen dollars on a vacation, movie tickets and restaurant meals. More than $100,000 that had been raised to help her family was returned to donors. And two men who were arrested after Gliniewicz was shot filed lawsuits. 

Associated Press contributed to this report.