Trial Date Set in Case of North Chicago Police Chief Accused of Stealing 140k from Asset Forfeiture Funds

The Chicago Tribune reports:

North Chicago Police Chief Michael Newsome, accused of stealing more than $140,000 from the city’s drug asset forfeiture fund in 2012, is scheduled for trial Feb. 2.

Both Assistant State’s Attorney Fred Day and defense attorney Douglas Zeit said this fall they wanted to see the case resolved before the end of this year, but delays due to illness and final evidence disclosure pushed the case into 2015.

Newsome pleaded not guilty in February 2013 to charges of theft of government property, which carries a mandatory 6- to 30-year prison sentence upon conviction. He is also charged with official misconduct and misallocation of funds.

After 14 years with the North Chicago Police Department, Newsome was promoted to police chief in 2005. He resigned in 2012.

In 2012, the Chicago Tribune reported that:

Former Chief Michael Newsome was accused of using the money to buy a new car and do home repairs on his kitchen, among other personal expenditures, Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Steve Scheller said.


Newsome, 51, was also charged with a separate count of theft of $500 to $10,000, stemming from an allegation that he withdrew an amount of money on May 4 of last year to pay for his children's school, authorities said.

Newsome's case highlights the ongoing and persistent issues with allowing law enforcement to control the non-appropriated revenues garnered through asset forfeitures. A key reform at the state and federal level would be to simply send forfeiture revenues to general funds controlled by legislative bodies; this policy change would eliminate a source of temptation and corruption endemic to law enforcement agencies that receive these revenues.

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