Fulton mayor charged with theft of city

The mayor of the city of Fulton, about 35 miles west of Dixon on the banks of the Mississippi River, was arrested and charged in connection with the theft of more than $500 from city funds on Aug. 11.

Mayor Larry Russell, 72, was charged in Whiteside County on one count of stealing $764 from a city bank account and also one count of official misconduct.

According to court documents, Russell, “while acting in his official capacity, with the intent to obtain a personal advantage for himself, performed an act in excess of his lawful authority, in that he knowingly obtained a check drawn on the city of Fulton Central Bank checking account payable to the defendant in the amount of $764 when he knew he was not entitled to these funds.”

Lt. John Booker of the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Department, which is working the case after the Fulton Police Departed handed it over in order to avoid any conflict of interest issues, said the initial call about the theft was received in early June. He added the misconduct charge arises from Russell’s abuse of his authority as mayor.

When someone is serving in an official capacity, such as “an elected official or something like that and possibly uses that position…is able to commit a theft because they were in that position, that’s where the official misconduct comes in,” Booker said.

Russell, who is due to appear in court Sept. 9, reportedly talked to the media after he was charged. He was quoted by the Clinton Herald saying the incident was “a stupid thing I did,” and that it arose from a dispute he had over city policies — although he did not consider that as justification for his alleged crime.

The Herald report also said Russell expressed regret that the incident ended up taking the time of so many others.

–Illinois News Network

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