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Former jail employee indicted for stealing from inmates

Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Chicago Sun-Times

A former Cook County Jail employee was indicted Tuesday for allegedly stealing more than $370,000 from inmates’ commissary accounts.

Elizabeth Hudson, 61, of the 9700 block of South Avenue, was arrested July 31 at her home after an investigation involving a series of audits showed that between September 2004 and June 2008, she allegedly stole money from accounts set up for inmates, according to a release from the Cook County Sheriff’s office.

Hudson was formally charged Tuesday with one count of theft of governmental property over $100,000, a Class X felony, one count of theft over $100,000 and one count of official misconduct, according to Cook County State's Attorney's office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.

Hudson had been employed at the jail for more than 15 years and had been the supervisor in the jail’s Inmate Trust Department for 10 years, the release said. She was responsible for reconciling money turned in by incoming inmates and setting up commissary accounts for them. She resigned from her position June 24.

Commissary accounts are set up for inmates so they can purchase items such as snack foods, toiletries and clothing during their incarceration.

After the initial discovery of the unreconciled funds, several safeguards were put into place to prevent further discrepancies, according to the release.

The Cook County Sheriff’s office and the Sheriff’s Office of Finance handled the investigation that led to Hudson’s arrest.

Hudson is scheduled for arraignment on Sept. 4, Simonton said.

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