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Former Grayslake chamber director charged with stealing $300K from organization – Chicago Tribune


The former director of the Grayslake Area Chamber of Commerce has been charged with illicitly taking more than $300,000 from the organization over a six-year period, according to federal authorities who announced her indictment on fraud charges.

Karen Christian-Smith, 56, of Round Lake Beach, was indicted Wednesday on six counts of wire fraud, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago.

Authorities said that between 2013 and 2019, Christian-Smith wrote checks from the chamber’s bank account to herself, which she then deposited into her personal bank account. She then spent the funds for her personal use, according to John Lausch, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Christian-Smith, who served as the chamber’s executive director from 2006 to 2019, attempted to cover up the misappropriation by submitting false and misleading financial reports to the chamber’s board of directors and the organization’s accounting firm, the indictment alleges.

She also filed misleading federal income tax returns, said authorities, who reported the total amount taken as $300,000.

A date for her arraignment has not been set, authorities said.

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