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Local

Essex Township clerk arrested, charged with stealing $94,000 from taxpayers

ESSEX TOWNSHIP – The Essex Township clerk was arrested Thursday for allegedly using taxpayer money for personal expenses, according to the Illinois Attorney General's Office.

Tracy Freytag, 50, was arrested in South Carolina and will be brought to Kankakee to face felony charges, according to a news release from the attorney general.

Essex Township is in Kankakee County and is located along the southern edge of Will County near Braidwood.

Freytag allegedly deposited $94,000 of Essex Township checks into a personal bank account and used taxpayer money for personal expenses, including two trips to Florida.

Problems were uncovered when a township employee reported that his payroll check had bounced, the news release stated. An investigator with Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. checked into the situation and found that the township account at the State Bank of Herscher had been completely depleted.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan alleges that Freytag deposited township checks into her personal bank account between November 2014 and May 2016. As clerk, Freytag had access to township bank accounts and was able to write checks on those accounts, the news release stated.

Freytag could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on charges that include theft of government property, financial institution fraud and official misconduct, according to the news release.

The attorney general credited the Kankakee County Sheriff's Office and the Aiken Police Department in South Carolina for assistance. Freytag was arrested in Aiken.

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