IL Deputy Fire Chief, Wife Arrested for Alleged Embezzlement


By Lauren Traut

Oak Forest (IL) – Oak Forest resident Michelle Sopko and her husband Charles Sopko, an Oak Forest deputy fire chief, were arrested Thursday morning on charges of embezzling $350,000 from the Palos Heights Fire Protection District.

Michelle and Charles Sopko were each charged with felony theft of government property over $100,000, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s Department. That is a Class X felony. Police descended on the couple’s Oak Forest home Thursday, seizing computers and other electronics, reports a neighbor. 

Michelle Sopko worked at the fire district as a part-time administrative assistant, from October 2008 through December 2012. She is accused of redirecting the district’s money to the couple’s joint bank account.

Michelle Sopko was arrested during a traffic stop and her husband was taken into custody at the couple’s home in the 5200 block of Kathleen Court, according to the Palos Heights Police Department.

In a news release, Palos Heights Police Chief George L. Yott Jr. remarked on the arrest.

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