DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin announced Thursday that pleaded guilty this morning to stealing more than $8,000 from residents of the Cupertino Home in Warrenville where she worked.
Cottrell, 37, of Justice, entered a blind plea of guilty to one count of Financial Exploitation of a Person With a Disability, a Class 2 Felony, in Court this morning in front of Judge Kathryn Creswell, according to a press release from the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office.
In her capacity as House Manager at the Cupertino Home, Cottrell had access to a safe that held residents’ ATM cards and other valuables. On several occasions between December 2008 and December 2011, Cottrell allegedly took residents' ATM cards and withdrew money from their accounts, according to the release. Cottrell kept the withdrawn funds for herself.
She was charged with the offenses Oct. 2.
The thefts were discovered when a fellow employee noticed discrepancies in some of the residents’ checking accounts and notified authorities at the Cupertino Home. After conducting an internal examination into the missing funds, authorities contacted the State’s Attorney’s Office for further investigation and prosecution ultimately resulting in today’s plea.
In all, Cottrell stole money from four different victims in the amounts of $7,698.85; $515.40; $524.20 and $110.00 for a total of $8,848.45, according to the release.
"Cottrell admitted that she stole thousands of dollars from individuals who had placed a great amount of trust in her,” Berlin said in a statement. “Not only did she violate the trust of her victims, she also violated the trust placed in her by the Cupertino Home."
Cottrell is scheduled to appear Dec. 20 in DuPage County Court in front of Judge Kathryn Creswell for return of the pre-sentence report and sentencing.
While the charges against Cottrell are probationable, she does face a possible sentence of up to seven years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, according to the release.