Second conviction in ‘Operation Cookie Jar’

Theft nets former park district treasurer six years in prison

 

 The former treasurer of a south suburban park district was convicted of stealing over $266,000 and received a significant prison sentence, according to the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Donald Jacobs, 62, of Posen pled guilty to one count each of theft of government property and official misconduct. Cook County Judge Michele Simmons sentenced Jacobs to six years for the theft charge and three years for the official misconduct charge to be served concurrently in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Jacobs was arrested in May along with several other defendants in “Operation Cookie Jar”, an ongoing investigation initiated earlier this year by the State’s Attorney’s Office targeting local government corruption. This is the second conviction as a result of the investigation.

“We are pleased with the sentence today,” said Alvarez. “We will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute local corruption cases in Cook County.”

According to prosecutors, Jacobs had served as the treasurer of the Posen Park District since 1995 where his responsibilities included working on its $180,000 annual budget and issuing checks to vendors for payment after obtaining the board’s approval.

Earlier this year prosecutors were contacted by board members about irregularities in the district’s finances. Investigators began reviewing records and learned that since 2004 a company named “D & D Services” had been issued over $200,000 in unapproved checks by Jacobs. A closer look at the business revealed that Jacobs was a signatory on the bank accounts where the stolen funds were deposited.

A further review of park district records also found that Jacobs used park district funds to pay his credit card bills, personal mortgage, and issued himself 94 additional paychecks. Prosecutors determined that Jacob’s thefts cost the park district $266,414.

Members of the public with information on corruption are encouraged to contact the office via an email tip line at: corruptiontips@cookcountyil.gov