Decatur Woman Sentenced to Probation for Theft of Government Property

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

URBANA, Ill. – A Decatur, Illinois, woman, Deborah G. Lake, also known as Deborah G. Mitchell and Deborah O’Neill, 70, of the 4800 block of Evergreen Court, has been sentenced to 12 months of probation for theft of government property. Lake was formerly of Kankakee County, Illinois.

According to the plea agreement, Lake worked as a bookkeeper for the Grundy, Livingston, and Kankakee County Workforce Board, which oversees and sets policy for workforce development and training programs for those counties. Lake created checks payable to herself for fraudulent invoices and embezzled over $33,000 from the Workforce Board. Lake pleaded guilty to the four-count indictment in November 2021.

At the hearing, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Michael M. Mihm found that Lake abused a position of public trust in committing these crimes. Lake was also ordered to pay $33,302.44 in restitution to the Workforce Board.

The statutory penalties for theft of government property are up to ten years imprisonment, up to three years of supervised released, and up to a $250,000 fine.

The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly M. Peirson represented the government in the prosecution.