Thursday, December 19, 2013

Charles and Michelle Sopko - Oak Forest Deputy Fire Chief and his Wife accused of stealing $350K


A former administrative assistant for the Palos Heights Fire Protection District and her husband – a deputy fire chief in Oak Forest - are accused of stealing more than $350,000 from her former employer, officials said.

Michelle Sopko, 45, and Charles Sopko, 47 of Oak Forest were arrested this morning and each charged with one count of theft of governmental property, a felony. They were scheduled to appear for a hearing at the Bridgeview Courthouse on Friday. 

Earlier this year, a new Palos Heights Fire Protection District chief noticed discrepancies in the district’s financial records and asked Palos Heights police and the Cook County sheriff’s department to investigate, according to the sheriff’s office. 

The agencies found that Michelle Sopko had diverted about $352,000 to a bank account she shared with her husband.

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30 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Mean people they thought they were better than everyone. The community most of us in Oak Forest knew they were out for show only. Charlie sopko was a coach and not a very nice one at that. Parents wanted to kick his rearend because of his lack of care and concern for the so called teams he coached. Michelle was the worst. Lets face it they will get what they deserve. Sorry for the three children they don't deserve this.

Anonymous said...

This is not uncommon for Oak Forest government. It is one of the most corrupt towns in the southwest suburbs. 90% of the employees are connected to some board member or elected official. If the feds looked a little closer half the town would be indicted.

Mr. SouthSide said...

She's kinda cute. When she gets out, she needs to come to Beatrice's for a few PBRs and Kesslers. That, and all the love and support from the boys, will help.

Beatrice will hide the tip jar though.

Anonymous said...

Possibly she did steal from Arbor Park PTO School District PTO. She and her mother always took the money for the tickets every year for the Fun Fair the PTO ran.This was Michelle's baby! What about the spirit wear money for the Lacross stuff and everything else where cash was handled by Michelle? How much did she actually take and what about Oak Fest and the Beer Tent and the Bingo Tent where money changed hands and her hands were all over that stuff? There is a lot more we will never know because there are no paper trails for some of this. It's called lie about how much you actually took in.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe these people could not make a go of 99k a year. Most people these days can't even come close to that and yet they are not out stealing. People are in worse situations than they were and some in their own community. it just goes to show you what greed and the need for power will do to a person. Possibly Charlie did not know there are some people who have no idea what they have in their accounts because the spouse handles all of the finances and if you really love someone then you trust them. So if he loved her and trusted her he is not to blame for any of this. Really why would you not put your kids first? Hopefully their children will be the adults here and they will show them some kindness and compassion and in time forgive their parents for what they have done. There are people as I said in their community way worse off. What a class act she is. yes she should have been investigated once she forged someones name on a check. So she was guilty of that so I am sure she is guilty of the rest. She has to learn to live with herself right now and I am sure that's not working out so well for her right now.

Anonymous said...

How could anyone say he didn't know.

Anonymous said...

He can't say he didn't know. 350K stolen over 30 months amounts to over 11K extra in your bank account each month. You have to pay taxes on the interest if it was a savings account. Anyone would question that. They are being represented by separate lawyers. Time to play lets make a deal.

Anonymous said...

Jail time for both in the Cook County lockup this weekend. Not the nicest place to be. For Michelle karma is sweet.As for Charlie maybe he was blind in love. So much for her being the Queen of Oak Forest. Well I guess there is no chance of Michelle pushing Charlie. To run for Mayor one day so she could be the first lady of Oak Forest. Boo hoo should anyone feel sorry for her I think not! How could you steel from the Firemans fund only a sick minded person would do such a thing. Not to mention the kids and this will affect them. Never knew what her old man saw in her in the first place. Can you say DIVORCE! I am sure they are headed for one! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to the Childten.I am sure the rest of their family willake sure they have a decent one.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the woman copied and pasted things and altered statements from the bank to show her hubby. Lets not hang him just yet but tie that rope tightly around her neck and let her swing like she did the firedepartment and all the other departments she had her grubby little hands in.

Anonymous said...

We don't know that Charlie knew anything of this. Maybe he did and maybe he didn't. My husband never looks at our accounts so he would never know if I did anything like that. The fact remains that they have 3 young children who can read this stuff and it is going to be very painful. i don't know Michelle at all. I do know Charlie only a little bit. I know that when he was a fireman/paramedic he took care of my mother and there wasn't a nicer guy. Having a loved one being cared for by him I felt he was so very kind to her. So sometimes good people make bad choices. One of which we really aren't sure he even was apart of. I think sometimes everyone is so quick to pass judgement and make cruel remarks, but let's face it, there's no closet that is squeaky clean. If you have no skeleton's in your closet, then I suppose you have the right to make a nasty comment. If not, sometimes it's better left unsaid. This family has a tremendous amount to deal with and whatever happens, they'll have to pay the price. Maybe it's best to just keep our nasty remarks to ourselves and let the law deal with it all. Try and think about how all of this is going to affect their three innocent children. Let's not forget...there are children involved.

Everyday a gift said...

I can understand that he might not have known up to a point. When you start buying stuff, you know what you earn, what your bills are, how far your money can go. Sounds like they were passing that point.

Everyday a gift said...

I would be surprised if lacrosse wasn't involved in someway, either taking money or getting kickbacks from the supplier.

Anonymous said...

She was the one who involved the children. When you have children you are supposed to put them first after all they are a gift and should be treated with respect. Michelle should have taught them that material objects are not what matters in life. They should have been taught how to live with in their means. I don't see that she taught them any of this. They should have been taught that love and respect for ones self was first and foremost and that doesn't include how much money you make or don't make. What matters is how you treat people. Michelle thought she wad better than everyone else and yes she thought her ---- didn't stink. She talked down to many people and snubbed her nose. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones and she threw plenty and at a lot of PTO Moms. She thought she was a class act and nobody could touch her because of the power she had from tje school board and her husbands status. Oh yes I do feel sorry for the children. They will need some therapy for sure. Yes we all make mistakes but there are some of us who don't look down their noses at people for misfortunes that were bestowed upon them. She did not do a lot of good for the community she tore it down and pitted people against eachother more times than not. She only ran things and collected money for things so she could buy things most of us can't afford. She robbed from Arbor Park School District as well and that pisses me off because my children attend school there. Better check out all the finances there and make sure she didn't help herself to checks there or anything else.

Anonymous said...

There is possibly some good that will come out of all this when the dust settles. Perhaps she will after doing time be a better person. Anyone can change if they want to and hopefully she will. I am sure after she takes a good look at her children she will realize that there is more to life than material things and social status. Here's hoping she will become a better person.I am going to keep the faith.

Anonymous said...

My son played on Mr. Sopko's Lacrosse team..He always treated the kids with kindness..never saw or heard otherwise.My son also played with his son.Their 3 kids were always kind & extremely respectful.Which I find to be a rare trait in children nowadays.I always assumed from seeing her at every event she helped with that she was not as friendly do to the stress of organizing & helping at all these functions.I do believe every organization that they were affiliated with she be investigated. More checks & balances should have been put into place.They have a treasurer for the Board of Education. & it was not Michelle.The Park District, & PTO has a treasurer as well..it was not Mr. or Mrs. Sopko either. Someone is in charge of funds collected, & funds that go out. Let the investigation begin.As far as I am concerned,time to do a clean sweep in all of these Oak Forest Organizations.I will no longer be handing over my money for fundraising events as easily anymore..& I'm sure many people feel the same..

Anonymous said...

Michelle Sopko was in charge of Fund Raising for the Arbor Park PTO. Check the facts they are so easy to check . If uou have a child in that school district they have a calandar that provides this information. I have two children in the district. She also gave up most of the things she was in charge of last spring in the PTO I wonder why lol but she never let go of fund raising any more questions? He did not always treat the children with kindness that is a crock maybe you should have attended all the games to see him in action. As far as Michelle having stress from all the organizing of these things you are sadly mistaken Michelle had plenty of offers to help out from plenty of people but had she taken them up she would have been found out a long time ago get your head out of your rearend. These two are two peas in a pod. What planet are you living on anyway?

Anonymous said...

I agree with with the above. it's time people started looking back at some of the ways she and her husband conducted themselves.All the money they had to go on the vacations and the things they provided for their children as well as themselves. The tryth will come out and some already did she admitted to stealing $100K but we know it was more and so did she. Of course they had inside information that is why she gave up most of the things in the PTO except for the Fund Raising she controlled the cash there till she handed it over to the treasurer. The money she took for ticket sales at the Fun Fair. Lets get real here friend or no friend they were wrong and they hurt our school didtrict as well as the communities they were involved in. Greedy people. We are parents who know the entire family and have foe many years. Our children go to school with theirs. don't do ther crime if you can't do the time!

Anonymous said...

Wow..you sound as evil as you claim Mrs. Sopko to be.."Rearend".Wow.Why do you assume I was not at every game? I was..did Mr. Sopko coach your child? Glad I did not sit next to you at any games..I never said she was innocent, I just don't choose to assume the worst in others.From my experience he was a very kind man, my son & his teammates thought he was a great coach.Never saw an unkind word.I was suggesting more people moderate these organizations better.Not allowing one person to have total control of handling funds. My daughters Girl Scout troop leader ran off with over $2,000 in cookie & troop sales.If one person was not allowed to handle the funds, this could of possible been prevented. Thus we have a treasurer for the Park District/ Board of Education.Checks & balances need to be in place for "the checks & balances".The law is doing its job..A crime was committed & they are in jail.Merry Christmas to you & your family as well..

Anonymous said...

Wow! This is all a little nuts maybe everyone should calm down a little. A crime has been committed and yes she did admit to stealing and forging signatures. It’s to bad she didn’t admit to all of it when she was caught forging signatures. She had to know this would all come out sooner than later after all she got fired. How could she not think they wouldn’t find out. It would have been much easier to just turn her self in right away and admit to all of it. It would have saved the taxpayers along with family, and friend’s money, time, and embarrassment. Mr. Sopko I am pretty sure knew what was going on if you look at what was uncovered and reported and in detail he had to have known. I don’t understand why either of them thought they could get away with this. What kind of message does this send to their children? I myself hope and pray that this will be a speedy process and out of the media asap. I also happen to believe that anyone can change if they choose to. However I wouldn’t put them in charge of the till so to speak. I do like the reference, “Don’t do the crime, if you can’t do the time.”

Mr. SouthSide said...

Is Michelle hott?

Anonymous said...

All of this reminds me of the cesspool of corruption that is the District 220 (Reavis HS) School Board. Unabashed thievery.