Ex-treasurer pleads guilty to theft of PTO funds
By Jim Newton firstname.lastname@example.org @JimNewton5 December 19, 2013 12:08PM
Updated: January 21, 2014 11:12AM
A former Grayslake PTO treasurer pleaded guilty to theft Thursday in a negotiated deal that will avoid a trial and spare her jail time.
Bako, who was charged with stealing more than $10,000 from Frederick School while she was the PTO’s treasurer, pleaded guilty to one count of theft, a Class 3 felony, and the state dropped a second count of theft and charges of unlawful use of a credit card.
In return, Bako was sentenced by Judge Victoria Rossetti to 24 months of felony probation, including no drug or alcohol use, was ordered to repay the $10,000 to the PTO, must complete 100 hours of public service and write a letter of apology to the PTO.
She has also been ordered to have no contact with the PTO or school officials.
A restitution hearing to ensure that the entire sum Bako is required to repay will be received by the PTO is scheduled Jan. 24.
Due to the alleged theft, the Grayslake fifth and sixth grade school’s PTO fund started with a zero balance at the start of the 2012-2013 school year, according to PTO reports.
Her case has faced ongoing delays, and hearings were often attended by members of the PTO eager to see the issue resolved and restitution completed.
In September, a group of PTO members and parents who had been attending Bako’s hearings in Lake County Circuit Court said the delays were frustrating but that the PTO is moving forward toward recovery, following concerns that the theft would decrease participation and donations to the organization.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorney Scott Turk and Bako was defended by attorney Christopher Lombardo.