March , 2019

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The coordinator of a fundraising program at a Catholic school in the Portage Park community has been charged with stealing funds that were supposed to be used to help lower tuition costs for underprivileged children, according to the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Yolanda Kozicz, 41, of Chicago, has been charged with Theft from a School for allegedly stealing more than $50,000 in funds from a tuition reduction incentive program at St. Pascal’s School. Kozicz had served as coordinator of the school’s program for seven years. Under the program, the school purchases gift cards from various establishments at reduced rates and then re-sells the cards to raise funds to help lower tuition for underprivileged students.

According to prosecutors, when Kozicz took over the program in 2001, there was nearly $25,000 in cash and an inventory of $20,000 in gift certificates on hand. In this position she was solely responsible for ordering gift cards, conducting sales, maintaining inventory and depositing the proceeds of sales.

School board members began to notice that she failed to provide financial reports regarding her activities and there was a reduction in the profits the program was generating. Their suspicions grew when she began to be late in delivering the gift cards and began to require buyers to place their orders several weeks in advance.

Kozicz was eventually forced out as the coordinator of the TRIP program early 2008. A joint investigation was launched with State’s Attorney’s Office and the Archdiocese of Chicago found that the program now had $4,326.82 in cash and only $30 in gift cards. A further review of records revealed that numerous purchases of gift cards had been made but there were significant discrepancies in the funds coming in that the sales should have produced.

The investigation revealed that the defendant’s thefts cost the school $51,942.49 which would have been used to offset tuition costs for underprivileged children.

A warrant was issued for her arrest and she was taken into custody when she arrived at her job in the northern suburbs August 4th. She posted bond at the police station and her next court date is August 10th for a preliminary hearing at the criminal courthouse at 26th & California.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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