A retired nurse in her 90s testified how her questions helped uncover thefts committed by a west suburban financial institution account manager who was sentenced Monday to four years in prison.
Christine Lang, 48, of Summit, was sentenced Monday on a count of felony theft in DuPage County court. The former account manager at the Trust Company of Illinois in Downers Grove, stole $328,000 from the accounts of three elderly clients and spent much of the money at riverboat casinos, DuPage County prosecutors said.
One of the victims, a woman in her 90s, testified at Lange’s sentencing hearing that she called Lange in 2016 when TCI failed to mail her quarterly statements. Lange promised to send a statement but failed to do so, the woman said. TCI finally mailed her a statement, and the woman said her account balance was down by $58,000.
“It made me sick to my stomach,” she said. She reported the issue to police, who began an investigation that led to Lange’s arrest.
Assistant State’s Atty. Lynn Cavallo said Lange spent a lot of the stolen funds on riverboat gambling. She lost more than $200,000 at one Joliet casino, authorities said.
“When she went gambling, she didn’t use her own paycheck. She spent the lifelines of three elderly people,” Cavallo told Judge Robert Miller.
Authorities say that Lange stole the money over a four-year period and made 84 illegal transfers from the accounts of the victims to her own account.
Lange, who had no previous record, tearfully apologized and said she was ashamed by her actions. She asked for probation so she could continue to help her parents, but the judge said her crime called for a prison sentence.
“You picked on the most vulnerable people in society, and you did it 84 separate times,” Miller told Lange.
Miller said Lange’s crimes were also a form of gambling – Lange gambled that the victims would die or not notice the thefts, and she gambled that she wouldn’t be caught. But Lange failed to outwit the retired nurse, Miller said. The elderly woman walked with the help of a cane and had her daughter stand by her for emotional support as she took the witness stand, testifying in a clear, sharp manner.
“You picked the wrong person. She’ll probably outlive us all,” the judge told Lange.
Miller ordered Lange to pay TCI $328,000 in restitution. The financial company reimbursed the victims of the thefts.
Clifford Ward is a freelance reporter.