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Former head of fireworks nonprofit charged with theft

FOX LAKE – The former president of the Chain O’ Lakes Fireworks Fund Committee has been charged with stealing $8,700 from the nonprofit.

Noreen Michael, of Ingleside, turned herself in to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Thursday after a warrant for her arrest had been filed, charging one count of felony theft, according to the Fox Lake Police Department.

She has since been released, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

The Chain O’ Lakes Fireworks Fund Committee took over the annual fireworks display after Pete Jakstas, who ran the show for decades, stepped aside. The committee’s goal is to raise $25,000 to put on this year’s show, and it has collected about $17,000, according to its website and Facebook page.

Michael is accused of using about $8,700 from February 2011 to December 2012 for personal expenses, Fox Lake police said in a news release.

The issue was brought to the Fox Lake police by a committee board member who noticed inappropriate transactions on a debit card issued to Michael, the release said.

The committee has new safeguards in place to make sure this type of activity doesn’t happen again, the committee said in a statement on its Facebook page. The group has also posted its financial statements on its website.

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