December , 2018

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The former coordinator of a fundraising program at a Catholic school on Chicago’s northwest side has been sentenced to three years in prison for stealing tens of thousands of dollars in school 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, 44, of Chicago, was found guilty of Theft for stealing more than $50,000 in funds from a tuition reduction incentive program at St. Pascal’s School in Chicago’s Portage Park community.  At the time that Kozicz was charged with the thefts, she was serving as coordinator of a school program in which the school purchased gift cards from various retail establishments at reduced rates and then re-sold 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 program and a joint investigation was launched with State’s Attorney’s Office and the Archdiocese of Chicago which found that the program had more than $4,000 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.

Kozicz was found guilty in a bench trial and sentenced by Judge James Obbish to three years in prison and two years of mandatory supervised release.

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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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