Illinois Grand Jury Indicts Ex-Jail Officials in Pension Fraud Scheme

July 28, 2005 ( - Two former top-ranking officials of the Lake County (Illinois) Jail have been charged in a pension-fraud scheme uncovered during a two-year jail corruption investigation by state and local prosecutors.

Charles DeFilippo, 46, and Lawrence Lesza, 55, former directors of the Lake County Department of Corrections, allegedly conspired to defraud two public employee pension funds on DeFilippo’s behalf, the indictment said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

DeFilippo, who resigned as director in 2003, and Lesza, who retired in 2000, each face one count of conspiracy to commit theft in excess of $100,000. They also are charged with one count each of attempted theft exceeding $100,000. DeFilippo faces five counts of forgery, and Lesza is charged with one count of forgery, according to the criminal indictment.

Prosecutors charge that in March 1999, DeFilippo and Lesza began submitting phony documents to the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund and to the Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Program in an effort to boost DeFilippo’s pension benefit.

The following year, the indictment said, the IMRF increased DeFilippo’s pension benefit by more than $19,000 annually, which could have cost taxpayers more than $344,000 were DeFilippo to begin collecting his pension when he turns 50 in 2008.