CHICAGO (CBS) — Former Ford Heights Mayor Charles Griffin has been arrested on charges of stealing nearly $150,000 from the town coffers.

A Cook County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman confirmed Griffin was arrested Wednesday on felony charges of theft and official misconduct. He allegedly funneled gambling revenues from the state into two secret bank accounts that he had sole control of, and had the statements sent to his home address.

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Charles Griffin, 63, the former mayor of Ford Heights, is charged with theft and official misconduct. (Credit: Chicago Police)

He also allegedly went to a currency exchange to cash $13,500 worth of checks for the village, but kept the cash, according to the state’s attorney’s office.

CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports that nearly half of the town’s residents are considered within the poverty rate. The median income is $23,000.

Current Ford Heights Mayor Annie Coulter, who defeated Griffin in the 2017 election, discovered the theft after taking office last year. She reported it to the sheriff’s office.

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As one of the most economically-disadvantaged communities in Illinois, the allegations came as a shock.

“The money that was given to help uplift the community–he used it for his own selfish purposes,” said minister Anthony Jackson-Bey. “It’s too small of a community to have this many issues because people (holding the) responsibility won’t take the responsibility.”

 

 

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