The widow of Fox Lake Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, whose death last September was ruled a "carefully staged suicide," pleaded not guilty Wednesday on charges that allege she was a co-conspirator with her late husband during years of theft and criminal activity.
Melodie Gliniewicz was indicted on multiple counts of disbursing charitable funds without authority and for personal benefit and money laundering. She' appeared before a judge Wednesday where her attorney entered a not guilty plea.
The charges stemmed from her late husband's years of alleged crimes. Joe Gliniewicz ran the Fox Lake Police Explorer Youth Program until his death, which was initially investigated as a homicide. In November, authorities ruled his death a suicide, saying he had staged it to look like a murder, fearing his thefts of the program’s funds would come to light.
Gliniewicz's felony charges carry a max sentence of three to 14 years in jail as well as a $25,000 fine in convicted. Her next court date is scheduled for Feb. 26.
Investigators said Joe Gliniewicz stole thousands of dollars from the youth group over seven years to spend on personal expenses, including family vacations, adult websites and payments to businesses such as Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts Fox Lake Theatre and more than 400 restaurants.
Melodie Gliniewicz held a "fiduciary role as an adult advisor with the Fox Lake Police Explorer Post," according to investigators.
Authorities in Lake County have since obtained a seizure order for five bank accounts associated with her, along with two credit card accounts. The new seizure order covers financial accounts that are believed to still contain funds from the Fox Lake Explorers.
In a statement, her attorneys said Melodie Gliniewicz is an innocent victim of her late husband's secrecy.
"Considering Melodie’s cooperation with law enforcement, she is devastated by the decision to bring charges against her," a statement from Kelleher & Buckley, LLC read. "Melodie is a victim of her husband’s secret actions and looks forward to her day in Court to show the world her innocence."