OAK FOREST - Oak Forest residents are trying to understand how a married couple who “were part of everything in this community” find themselves accused of stealing $352,000 from the Palos Heights Fire Protection District.
Charles Sopko, 47, is a deputy fire chief in Oak Forest, vice president of the park board and co-founder of the Oak Forest Fury lacrosse team.
His wife, Michelle, 45, is a member of the Arbor Park School District 145 Board and “was always active in any community improvement project going on,” a neighbor said.
But as a part-time bookkeeper/administrative assistant with the Palos Heights Fire Protection District, Michelle Sopko allegedly manipulated payroll and accounts payable systems to hide the diversion of $352,000 to the couple’s bank account over a period of about 30 months from 2009 to 2012, according to Cook County sheriff’s police.
The rest of the story in the Southtown Star.