Former Lake County Bar Association exec admits to stealing nearly $250,000 from group
A former executive director of the Lake County Bar Association received two years of probation after admitting Tuesday to stealing nearly $250,000 from the organization and its charitable foundation.
Christopher T. Boadt, 52, who lived in Gurnee when he led the bar association, entered a negotiated guilty plea on one count of disbursing charitable funds without authority for personal benefit during an appearance in Lake County circuit court. Boadt entered into the plea deal after his indictment was unsealed by DuPage County Associate Judge Robert Miller.
Documents show Boadt stole from the Waukegan-based bar association and its philanthropic arm from January 2014 to January 2018. He began with the organization in 2008 and resigned in an email to the board of directors Jan. 31, saying he was departing "effective immediately."
Boadt took the $248,447 by issuing a debit card to himself to draw on bar association and foundation funds and by incrementally giving himself pay raises "over a number of years, so as not to be obvious," according to his plea agreement. An audit conducted by the bar association and a separate forensic audit uncovered Boadt's crime.
Defense attorney Richard Kopsick read a statement to the Daily Herald after Tuesday's hearing.
"I've been doing this a long time and I've learned a couple of things," Kopsick said. "And one of them is that sometimes good people make bad decisions. Chris made some bad decisions and he is paying the price for those decisions, but he's a good person and I'm proud to count him as a friend."
Made up of attorneys and judges, the bar association was paid $150,000 through an insurance claim. Boadt, who didn't speak in court or afterward, paid the $98,447 balance as restitution under the plea bargain.
Lake Bluff lawyer Jennifer Howe, who was bar association president when Boadt's crimes were discovered, read a victim-impact statement in court. She recalled seeing what turned out to be red flags, such as Boadt's driving a high-end sport utility vehicle and parking his personal watercraft in the association's lot.
"Some of us today still struggle with what to think of you," Howe told Boadt, who looked directly at her from the defense table as she spoke. "Some of us are convinced you are simply evil. Others do not believe that, but we all know now that what you did was an evil act."
Attorney Jeffrey A. Berman, president of the Lake County Bar Foundation, gave a victim-impact statement describing the group's philanthropic efforts and said they were harmed by Boadt. Berman said the foundation supports disadvantaged adults, protects at-risk youths and provides legal help to those in need.
"It bears repeating, in a very real sense, Mr. Boadt stole from the poor, the helpless, the infirm and the most disadvantaged people of our county," said Berman, who works for a Rolling Meadows law firm.
Boadt also must complete 100 hours of community service during his probation and pay a $1,500 fine. His probation is expected to be transferred to Clark County, Nevada, where he now lives.
To avoid potential conflicts, Brian Towne and Bernard Murry of the Illinois appellate prosecutor's office handled the case and Miller was brought in from DuPage County to preside over Tuesday's proceeding.