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Melodie Gliniewicz: ‘Wife of Police Officer’ Who Faked Suicide Faces Conspiracy Charge
- Updated: March 11, 2016
Melodie Gliniewicz, The widow of a suburban Chicago police officer who authorities say killed himself as allegations of alleged thefts from a youth program spread has been charged with conspiracy.
Melodie Gliniewicz was indicted in January on charges of felony money laundering and misuse of charitable funds tied to allegations that more than $10,000 was misspent from accounts that were supposed to support the now-defunct Fox Lake Police Explorers chapter.
On Wednesday, a Lake County grand jury indicted Melodie Gliniewicz, 51, with one count of conspiracy. The new charge relates to more than one person being involved in a plan to commit a crime, officials said.
If convicted on the initial charges, Melodie Gliniewicz could receive probation or up to seven years in prison, officials said.
Authorities said Wednesday the conspiracy charge is a lower class of felony than the previous charges, therefore she is not at risk of a longer prison sentence if convicted.
State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim said revising or adding charges is not an unusual procedure as prosecutors prepare for a potential trial.
“We are continuously evaluating and reevaluating cases, and sometimes add charges when appropriate,” Nerheim said Wednesday.
Officials said the conspiracy charge is an additional and alternate way of charging her with the same offenses.
She has already pleaded not guilty to the initial charges and is free from custody after posting a $5,000 bond.
Officials said Melodie Gliniewicz’s bond has not changed as the result of the new indictment, and scheduled court dates still stand.
An arraignment date on the new indictment is scheduled April 6 before Judge Victoria Rossetti.
Her defense attorneys have contended that rather than being an accomplice, Melodie Gliniewicz was “a victim of her husband’s secret actions.”
Authorities said detectives determined funds intended for the Explorer program — designed to give aspiring youths police experience in the field — were used by the couple to pay for a vacation in Hawaii and trips to Fox Lake Theatre, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. Explorer funds were also used for more than 400 restaurant charges, according to officials.
Lt. Gliniewicz was found fatally shot on the morning of Sept. 1 after calling into dispatchers that he was following three men, authorities said. His death was initially investigated as a homicide in the line of duty, but investigators later ruled it a suicide, saying Lt. Gliniewicz staged his death to look like a murder amid fears that his alleged thefts would be discovered.
Melodie Gliniewicz’s attorneys have began making a case to get at least three of the initial counts dismissed. The defense will have until April 1 to file the motions to dismiss and another hearing is scheduled April 6.
Defense attorneys also asked for a formal release of several accounts frozen in the wake of the investigation. Those accounts were not included in a seizure order that targeted those accounts believed to contain funds from the Explorers program.