Oak-Leyden employee accused of stealing from a client
Oak Park, IL -- An Oak-Leyden Developmental Services employee has been arrested on charges she stole more than $16,000 from a disabled client in recent years, police say.
Contessa Gordon-Elliot, 40, of the 1600 block of North Lotus Avenue in Chicago, was arrested May 6 and charged with financial exploitation of a person with a disability, a felony, according to an Oak Park Police Department report.
Oak-Leyden, an Oak Park nonprofit, employed Gordon-Elliot as a home manager, according to police. Gordon-Elliot used an ATM card to remove about $16,400 from a 53-year-old Berwyn client's bank account from September 2011 to January 2014, police say.
She has been released after posting $1,500 bail, which is 10 percent of $15,000 bond, according to the Cook County Sheriff's Office. Her next court date is May 30 at the Maywood Courthouse.
Oak-Leyden President Bob Atkinson said the organization terminated Gordon-Elliot's employment for unrelated reasons before discovering inconsistencies in the client's account. The organization promptly reported the inconsistencies to police after finding them, Atkinson said.
"Oak Leyden stands firmly behind its clients and the protection of all of them," he said.
He said the victim is wheelchair-bound due to cerebral palsy, and is unable to sign documents. Assistants help the victim apply a stamp to financial documents at banks, he said.
"It's unfortunate that there are people in this world who take advantage of people who can't defend themselves," he said.
Atkinson said the organization reviewed the accounts of its other clients and found no other inconsistencies. Oak-Leyden is reviewing its oversight procedures to try to prevent something similar happening in the future, he said.
Gordon-Elliot could not be reached for comment.
article by Wes Venteicher, Chicago Tribune reporter, May 9, 2014