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State

Plea agreement in final NIU ‘coffee fund’ case

SYCAMORE (AP) – The DeKalb County state’s attorney says prosecutors were too aggressive when they filed felony charges after employees set up a private bank account at Northern Illinois University.

Prosecutor Richard Schmack made the statement Thursday after announcing a plea agreement with the last of the defendants in the “coffee fund” case. The school put eight employees on paid administrative leave. They were accused in an alleged scheme to sell the school’s scrap materials and put the money in the account to use for social events.

The former DeKalb County prosecutor filed the felony charges. Schmack won the post in November.

Schmack says state law classifies the violation as a misdemeanor. He says it’s not proper to elevate the charge to a felony because a state employee is involved.

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