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Men Accused Of Stealing Over $50K In Checks From Obama Campaign HQ

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Jessie Adams, Willard Elam

Jessie Adams (left) and Willard Elam are charged with a scheme in which they allegedly stole checks from President Obama’s Chicago campaign headquarters. (Credit: Chicago Police)

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UPDATED 09/22/12 3:18 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Two south suburban men were in bond court Saturday, charged with stealing checks from President Barack Obama’s Chicago campaign headquarters.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office has charged Jessie Adams, 36, of Joliet, and Willard Elam, 48, of Dolton with allegedly stealing more than $50,000 in checks, made them out to legitimate businesses, and deposited them in phony accounts, according to a Chicago Tribune report.

CBS 2′s Roseanne Tellez reports their bonds were set at $100,000 and $75,000, respectively, on Saturday afternoon.

Adams is charged with being the organizer of a financial criminal enterprise, while Elam is charged with continuing a financial crimes enterprise, the Tribune reports.

Police tell the newspaper Adams recruited Elam and another man who is still at large for the scheme. They allegedly stole more than $50,000 in checks from the Obama campaign headquarters at 1 Prudential Plaza, 130 E. Randolph St.

The checks were made out to legitimate businesses, but the men used counterfeit documents to open fraudulent accounts for themselves in those businesses’ names, authorities tell the Tribune.

Elam used his own identification to set up a fraudulent account at the TCF Bank branch in South Holland on Sept. 13, and deposited a check for $23,839.80, police tell the Tribune. The man still at large pulled a similar operation at the TCF Bank branch in Dolton, the newspaper reported.

Adams allegedly gave the men the counterfeit documents they needed to open the accounts, the Tribune reported.

The Obama campaign says three checks were discovered to have made it into the wrong hands, and the campaign notified police upon finding out.

“Three checks we sent to vendors made it into the wrong hands, and after learning of this we notified the police. We’re pleased that they’re dealing with the issue swiftly, and don’t expect this to have any impact upon the campaign.” Ben Finkenbinder, Midwest Press Secretary for the Obama campaign, said in a statement.

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