BLOOMINGTON — A Bloomington woman was sentenced to probation and 180 days in jail Monday for stealing more than $180,000 from the Eagles Club in Bloomington.

Theresa Fitchorn, 44, pleaded guilty Nov. 2 to theft of over $10,000. She admitted to taking money from the Eagles between February and July 2014.

Eagles President Bob Fisher said he and other members were disappointed that Fitchorn, a member who served as treasurer and secretary before the embezzlement was discovered, received probation.

"We were really disappointed she didn't get actual prison time. This was heinous. It didn't just affect us. She damaged the whole community," said Fisher, who attended the sentencing hearing with about a dozen other members.

Fisher said Big Brothers Big Sisters of McLean County, Habitat for Humanity, YouthBuild and local veterans organizations were among the groups that lost out on donations from the Eagles after its bank account was drained to a $31 balance.

Judge Robert Freitag noted in his comments that the law requires a sentence of probation for first-time felons unless a community-based sentence would deprecate the seriousness of the offense. Fitchorn's conduct supports a prison term, said Freitag, but her need to work to pay restitution also was a consideration.

"I expect you to work and make restitution to the victims in this case," said Freitag.

Fitchorn also was ordered to serve 180 days in jail but with day-for-day credit for good behavior and credit for eight days she served before her release on bond, she will serve 82 days.

In comments to the judge, Fitchorn apologized to Eagles members and her family for the theft.

"All I can say is I'm sorry," said Fitchon, adding that she bought groceries, clothing and jewelry with a portion of the money.

Assistant State's Attorney Brad Rigdon asked for the three-year maximum term outlined in a plea agreement that included dismissal of more serious theft and financial crimes charges.

"The seriousness of the offense warrants more than a slap on the wrist," said Rigdon.

Bloomington police Detective Jared Roth said bank records showed Fitchorn withdrew more than $180,000 in cash and used the Eagles credit card for purchases. Groceries, clothing and gambling trips accounted for some of the money but a complete accounting was never made, said Roth.

Defense lawyer Stephanie Wong argued that Fitchorn was receiving mental health treatment and had undergone bariatric surgery. She also attends a support group for gambling addicts, said Wong.

The consequences of having a felony record will be long-lasting and severe for Fitchorn, said Wong.

The Eagles has tightened its bookkeeping measures since the theft, said Fisher. The organization, which puts its actual losses from the theft closer to $250,000, is rebuilding, said Fisher.

"The lights are still on and we're in the black. The Eagles is very strong and once again helping people," said Fisher.

Follow Edith Brady-Lunny on Twitter: @pg_blunny

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(12) comments

DSpatriot
DSpatriot

Hate to think like this but if that's all the punishment she got, sign me up for $180k and I'll gladly sit down for 180 days. What a joke!!

Skatermom
Skatermom

Wow....wonder who she knows? This is not a victimless crime.

visionary
visionary

I wonder how much of that 180K was used to retain Wong as her attorney? Criminal defense lawyers of Wongs caliber do not take embezzlement cases pro bono. The fact there was not a full accounting of where the money went is a definite red flag. Also considering the circumstances and the intended recipients of this missing money, I do not see how Frietag could not find this case warranted a prison term. After all the woman PLED GUILTY so there was no question if she committed the crime or not.

visionary
visionary

It would be quite interesting to know what law Judge Frietag is referring too when he speaks of first offenders and probation? In another section of this very edition of the paper is the story of a Rock Island, Illinois woman who was sentenced to 4 years in prison for lying to a man about having cancer and bilking him for about 130K for medicine and treatment expenses. I am including a link that lists the womans' (Felicia Howard) complete criminal history and you will see her only crimes are 3 traffic tickets in her entire life. This "law" that Frietag claims was his basis for not sentencing this woman to prison must not be a state law or surely the Rock Island County judge would have not sentenced Ms. Howard to a 4 year term for a crime that had far fewer victims and involved 50K less money. I sure would like to know where that law exists that Frietag cited. Here is the link of Ms. Howards criminal history.

http://www.judici.com/courts/cases/case_search.jsp?court=IL081025J&sort=full_name&order=ASC&case_number=&litigant_name=Howard%2C+F&charge_text=

Delusionary's Wife
Delusionary's Wife

The court is now in session. Barrister Delusionary for the Prosecutor's Office, your honor. I know I haven't attended law school or passed the bar, but no worries. I am a know-it-all and have watched every episode of Perry Mason at least twice! Your honor, I will even correct you based on my most excellent understanding of the law. Watch for Delusionary masquerading as a neurosurgeon next!

DBoelen
DBoelen

"I sure would like to know where that law exists that Frietag cited." -- visionary

Dilusionary's Wife," visionary" is not claiming to be a lawyer but simply asking a question. No need to be demeaning.

Delusionary's Wife
Delusionary's Wife

As his wife of many decades, DBoelen, I know Delusiohnary a lot better than you do. He isn't just asking questions. He never has just asked questions. I am simply pointing out the obvious about my beloved husband.

Whatafoolbelieves
Whatafoolbelieves

This is getting ridiculous ....non stop parasitic harassment by an illusionary wife.

visionary
visionary

It would appear that you are deeply intimidated when cogent questions are raised despite the fact there are links provided, that validate such questions. It is obvious by your feeble attempts at cheap humor that you are incapable of participating in an adult discussion much less posing any thought provoking dialogue.

Delusionary's Wife
Delusionary's Wife

Delusionary, honey baby, IF you EVER post a thoughtful response, I'll engage. But to pretend that your "questions" weren't based on being a know-it-all is a total farce. You know better than the judge. You know better than everyone. That is what makes you Delusionary. No one here takes you seriously with the exception of your merry little band of tea partiers and they are about to be reduced by one when B.S. Slinger moves out of town. So, I am left being your ever devoted, loving wife.

Bill Vit
Bill Vit

Don't confuse hizzoner Vizzie with facts!! Dernit he know everything!! And is always right!!

Lbomb
Lbomb

JAIL = spending more taxpayer money plus no work = no restitution. That's called a lose - lose situation. If she does not pay however lock her up!!

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