Former Aurora cop sentenced to community service for theft

A former Aurora Police Department detective was ordered to pay more than $9,000 in restitution and perform community service on Tuesday after pleading guilty to stealing money from an organization that represents police officers.

Joseph Accardi, 36, of Naperville, a 15-year Aurora Police Department veteran, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft for taking $9,019 from the Association of Professional Police Officers last year. Accardi resigned from the department on Feb. 16, and had been on administrative leave since September 2013 following an investigation by Illinois State Police into the theft.

Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said his office decided to charge Accardi with misdemeanor theft instead of felony theft.

“Not only did we look at the facts of what he did, but we also looked at his background,” McMahon said. “We took both sides into consideration.”

McMahon said felony charges could have been filed against Accardi, but the former detective’s willingness to accept responsibility to his crime led to his office’s decision to file the misdemeanor charge instead.

As part of Accardi’s plea deal, he will be required to serve 200 hours of community service, be placed on one year of conditional discharge, and participate in a theft awareness program. He was also required to pay $500 in fines and court costs.

On Tuesday, Accardi also turned over a check for $9,019 that he stole from APPO.

Prosecutors said the thefts occurred from May 2010 through May 2013.

Aurora Police Chief Gregory Thomas said he was disappointed in Accardi’s arrest.

“The accusations against Mr. Accardi tarnish the honorable profession of law enforcement,” Thomas said in a written statement. “When a police officer is charged with breaking the laws that he or she has taken a solemn oath to uphold and protect, it is a betrayal of the community’s trust and something that cannot be tolerated.”

Thomas said that as soon as the allegations surfaced, the matter was turned over to the Illinois State Police to conduct an independent investigation. Sources said that more than 800 pages of documents were compiled regarding Accardi’s case.

“The city appreciates the thorough work of both the Illinois State Police and the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office to bring this unfortunate matter to a conclusion,” Thomas said.

As a result of Accardi’s arrest and conviction, at least five cases charged in Kane County have been dropped, according to McMahon. Accardi was the lead detective on a felony financial fraud and identity theft case where the suspects were accused of stealing more than $100,000 from a victim.

McMahon said prosecutors are looking at other cases to determine the role Accardi played as a detective.

“We are still reviewing files to determine his level of involvement,” McMahon said when discussing Accardi’s charges last week. “We have sent disclosure requirements to the defendants on pending cases where Mr. Accardi is involved.”

DuPage and Kendall counties, which include parts of Accardi’s Aurora jurisdiction, have also been notified of Accardi’s arrest.

“Mr. Accardi was well known to this office, and was someone who was held in high regard,” McMahon said. “These allegations are disappointing.”