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Ill. TV Worker Charged With Taking $1.8M

July 9, 2003

CHICAGO (AP) _ The former accounting director at a television station was charged with stealing about $1.8 million by overpaying company travel bills, then having the refunds put on her personal charge cards.

Deborah Fogarty was arrested Tuesday along with her husband, Timothy Fogarty, on felony charges of money laundering and theft by deception, prosecutors said.

The couple was sued the same day by the CBS-owned Chicago station, WBBM-TV. According to the lawsuit, the money was stolen between January 1997 and March, when Deborah Fogarty was fired.

According to the lawsuit, she spent $1.4 million of the funds using one personal account and $394,000 using another. The alleged thefts were uncovered during an internal review completed after Fogarty was fired.

A document shows she used two personal American Express cards to spend $501,000 on jewelry, $79,000 on electronics, $257,000 on travel and $103,000 on clothing, among other things. The couple is also accused of receiving $232,000 in cash advances.

Fogarty, 43, began working at WBBM in 1989. Her husband is a public works employee in suburban Oak Forest.

The lawsuit seeks a judgment forcing Fogarty to pay back the money plus the salary she earned during the time of the alleged thefts.

The alleged thefts did not affect the station’s financial health, president and general manager Joe Ahern said in a statement.


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