JOLIET Will County States Attorney James Glasgow announced today (Wednesday, Dec. 12) that former Joliet Fire Chief Joseph Drick and his wife, Cheri Drick, were sentenced to eight years in prison for stealing more than $211,000 from an elderly woman.
A jury on Oct. 1 found the Dricks guilty of theft by deception, financial exploitation of an elderly person and conspiracy to commit financial exploitation of an elderly person. Immediately after the October verdict, Associate Judge Robert Livas revoked their bail and took them into custody pending sentencing.
The Dricks befriended 82-year-old Gladys Farrington of Joliet 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 to pay for items used for the Dricks personal purposes. Joe Drick made the initial call to a local lawyer, who arranged to give Cheri Drick power of attorney for Farrington.
This prison sentence marks a sad conclusion to Joe Dricks otherwise distinguished career as a public servant, Glasgow said. The Dricks took advantage of a trusting elderly woman, and their steadfast refusal to acknowledge their responsibility for their crimes has resulted in these prison sentences. In law enforcement, we must be aggressive in our efforts to protect senior citizens who are so vulnerable to such exploitation.
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.
Cheri Drick also cashed in certificates of deposit 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.
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. She did not know Cheri Drick was writing checks on her accounts for 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 a complicated financial case and explaining the details of this exploitation clearly for jurors.
These two dedicated prosecutors sifted through mountains of financial documentation to prepare for a difficult trial that lasted three weeks, Glasgow said. They so clearly documented how Gladys Farrington fell victim to financial exploitation that after fifteen days of evidence the jury returned with a guilty verdict in only 2-1/2 hours.