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Elburn, Hinckley men among those charged in NIU ‘coffee fund’ case

Updated: October 17, 2012 2:34AM

DEKALB — Two area men are among nine people charged in the investigation of the “coffee fund” theft case at Northern Illinois University, the DeKalb County state’s attorney’s office said Tuesday.

Robert Albanese, of the 1000 block of President Street in Elburn, and Keith Jackson, of the 13200 block of Hinckley Road in Hinckley, both face multiple charges in the case, prosecutors said.

The investigation involves an alleged secret bank account channeling thousands of dollars to university employees from the sale of recycled university property.

NIU employees working at a campus physical plant sold scrap metal to a local company which would write checks to an account for university employees known as the “coffee fund,” prosecutors said.

According to reports, electronic records show checks from the DeKalb Iron and Metal Company to the fund have totaled more than $13,000 since 2005. The single biggest payout in the past five years was $778 for 5,560 pounds of galvanized clips that were delivered in March.

University officials, however, said they had no record of such a fund.

Prosecutors said Tuesday that Jackson is charged with official misconduct and obstructing justice, both felonies, as well as a misdemeanor count of violation of the State Property Control Act.

The charging documents said that in late August, Jackson failed to submit money received from recycling property owned by NIU to Central Management Services.

The charges also said he altered evidence involving the “coffee fund” account at Castle Bank in DeKalb. Prosecutors said he obtained money from the fund and then put the money into another account under his control.

Albanese faces two felony theft charges, a felony misconduct charge and a misdemeanor charge of violating the State Property Control Act. The charges say Albanese was involved in recycling of university property valued at $500 to $10,000, but did not turn the money over to Central Management Services.

The Associated Press
contributed to this report.

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