Charges filed in theft of Miners money

Ann Gill

Following a detailed investigation by the Coal City Police Department, a Grundy County grand jury handed down an indictment formally charging a former treasurer of the Coal City Miners Youth Tackle Football program with theft.
Bridget Hodina, 36, of Cape Coral, FL, is charged with theft of more than $10,000 but less than $100,000, a class 2 felony. A nationwide warrant was issued for her arrest, bond is set at $75,000.
It was on the evening of Friday, Aug. 31 that the youth football organization announced via social media that through an investigation of its own a theft of funds had occurred and it, “was the act of one person.”
Representatives from the program reported the alleged theft to police on Aug. 29 and a criminal investigation was opened.
According to police, Hodina assumed the duties of treasurer on Nov. 1, 2017 and served in that capacity until she and her family moved to Florida on or about July 23.
A review of the organizations financial records verified $18,144.91 had allegedly been taken by the former treasurer, the amount corresponding with checks written by Hodina to herself, her husband and for cash. With no paper trail for cash taken in by the organization, the charges do not reflect the theft of any other funds.    
Coal City Police Sgt. Chris Harseim led the investigation and reports the $18,144.91 represents seven checks Hodina issued—three to herself, two to her husband and two to cash.
The first check she issued to herself was dated Dec. 22, 2017 for $423.75 and the memo on the warrant noted “jersey.” The investigation discovered that check was endorsed by Hodina and deposited in her personal account.
On Jan. 5, a check for $2,987.77 was written to Chris Hodina, her husband, and deposited into their personal account at TCF Bank.
Then on March 10 a $3,246.80 check was issued to Chris Hodina and deposited into their personal account. The memo on the check states “Riddell.”
The investigator reports an automated payment to Riddell Sports had already been made by the organization for the same dollar amount. He said, the sports equipment company only takes automated payments from its customers.
On April 24, four days prior to a planned fundraiser, Hodina issued, endorsed and cashed a $2,400 check. In the memo line, “spaghetti dinner.”
A $848.75 check dated May 15 written to Bridget Hodina was endorsed and deposited in her TCF Bank account. Three days later, on May 18, a $3,365 check was written to cash and endorsed by Hodina who collected the funds. The memo stated, “jerseys.”
The final check written, endorsed and deposited by Hodina into her personal account was dated July 18 for $4,872.84. The note on this check was “reimbursement.”
Less than one week later she resigned her post as treasurer and moved out of Coal City.
According to the investigation report, representatives of the organization told police that during her eight month tenure as treasurer, Hodina never provided any financial statements at meetings. Further they indicated it was common practice for the organization president to sign blank checks ahead so the treasurer could pay bills as they were received.
Two signatures were required on checks. Copies of checks obtained by the police and reviewed as part of the investigation show the two required signatures matched those on signature cards on file with the organization’s financial institution.
The theft of funds left the organization short handed mid-way through the 2018 season.
Local businesses, individuals and organization like Lil’ Coaler Wrestling, Coal City Athletic Boosters and the Illinois 8 Youth Tackle Football League of which the Miners are members all donated to keep the season going. Additionally, the program held a tag day, sold pastries and are currently selling tickets for a chance to win a $25,000 voucher to put toward the purchase of a vehicle courtesy of D’Orazio Ford in Wilmington.
As of the weekend, Hodina had not yet been taken into custody. Once arrested she will be required to return to Illinois to appear in Grundy County Circuit Court. To be released on bond she will be required to post 10 percent, $7,500.
Harseim noted the Grundy County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the investigation.