Former county purchasing director indicted for embezzlement

Staff Report 

Federal charges have been filed against the former purchasing director for Winnebago County, Sally Claassen.

Claassen, who resigned her post last September after being placed on administrative leave, has been accused of embezzling at least $5,000 in federal funds distributed to the county in both 2014 and 2015.

In addition, federal prosecutors have filed a “forfeiture allegation” ordering Claassen to return $451,353 to authorities. Over $290,000 was seized from the former director’s bank accounts last December.

An internal investigation sparked by Sheriff Gary Caruana’s office was handed over to federal investigators last summer. The sheriff’s office was reportedly looking for misappropriated funds from the county’s 1 percent sales tax fund.

One county employee reached for comment simply said, “I hope it’s over.” Investigators, however, did not indicate if their work with the county government is complete.

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