Former Joliet fire chief, wife convicted of stealing from elderly woman

October 1

JOLIET —Will County States Attorney  James Glasgow announced today (Monday, Oct. 1) that a jury has found former Joliet Fire Chief Joseph Drick and his wife, Cheri Drick, guilty of stealing more than $100,000 from an elderly woman.

A jury deliberated for 2-1/2 hours before finding the Dricks guilty of theft by deception, financial exploitation of an elderly person and conspiracy to commit financial exploitation of an elderly person.

They are scheduled to be sentenced by Associate Judge Robert Livas on Dec. 12. The judge revoked their bond after the conviction. The couple was taken into custody pending sentencing.

The Dricks befriended 82-year-old Gladys Farrington in November of 2002 after they saw her walking through her neighborhood on a cold day. Within months of meeting Farrington, Cheri Drick had obtained power of attorney for the elderly woman and had begun writing checks on her accounts that were used for the Dricks personal purposes. Joe Drick made the initial call to the local attorney who arranged to give Cheri Drick power of attorney for Farrington.

Over the course of 2003, the Dricks used Farringtons money to purchase a Cadillac Escalade, pay the mortgage on the large home they own at 1400 Mason in Joliet, buy mausoleum crypts for themselves, pay for new windows on their house and pump roughly $88,000 into Joseph Dricks side business, Drick Educational Services. In total, the Dricks spent roughly $200,000 of Farringtons money for their personal use.

In addition, Cheri Drick cashed in certificate of deposits and changed Farringtons will to make her and her family the beneficiaries of the womans roughly $1.1 million estate. In her original will, Farrington left all of her money to the Cathedral of St. Raymond, where she had been a devoted parishioner who attended services every day for most of her life.

Gladys Farrington was raised to be trusting and respectful of others. Sadly, these wonderful qualities were exploited by Cheri and Joe Drick, Glasgow said.  

The prosecution argued the Dricks took advantage of Farrington by creating the false impression they would take care of her finances and act in her best interest. Farrington died in 2005.

Testimony during the nearly three-week trial showed Farrington to be a shy and frugal woman who had no debt and did not believe in credit cards. Farrington did not know Cheri Drick was writing checks on her accounts for her personal expenditures at stores like Carsons, Best Buy, J.C. Penny and Abercrombie & Fitch.

Cheri Drick had all of Farringtons mail redirected to her own house. And she isolated the elderly woman from neighbors who had helped her over the years, telling them they should stay away from Farrington.

Glasgow credited his two prosecutors, Kathy Patton and Chris Koch, for piecing together this complicated financial case and explaining the details of this theft clearly for jurors.

Their dogged research and skilled trial work gave jurors everything they needed to come back with a guilty verdict, Glasgow said.