School board leader charged with theft, financial exploitation

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) – A leader on the Springfield school board is in custody and charged with theft.

Police say U.S. Marshals arrested Lopez on charges of theft and financial exploitation of the elderly. He’s accused of taking unauthorized control of over $1 million that people had entrusted to him as an investment professional. Officers say Lopez was “intending to deprive such individuals permanently of the funds”.

Lopez previously worked for COUNTRY Financial, which fired him in early September.

Investigators say they began investigating Lopez in the same month. They say more victims could be identified at a later date. The suspect faces five charges in total.

The investigation into Lopez involved the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Illinois Department of Insurance, Sangamon County State’s Attorney’s Office and law enforcement.

“Individuals who commit these types of financial crimes in a position of trust or confidence will be vigorously prosecuted,” said Sangamon County State’s Attorney Dan Wright. “The harm caused by these activities is immeasurable and those responsible will be brought to justice.”

While Lopez possibly facing 30 years behind bars, he still holds the Vice President position with the Springfield school board. In a statement to WAND, District 186 said the board doesn't have the ability to remove an elected member. They said quote: 

"The district is not involved in any investigation Adam Lopez or any his personal matters. We have not further comment on his personal matters." 

WAND then reached out to the regional superintendent. Jeff Vose said Lopez can still serve on the board, however, he can be removed if he misses out on four months of board meetings. Lopez can either voluntarily step down or be removed if convicted. He is behind bars in the Sangamon County Jail with bond set at $1.5 million.

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