Woman on lam for 11 years guilty of forgery

Erika H. Luna | Courtesy of DuPage County Sheriff's Office
Erika H. Luna | Courtesy of DuPage County Sheriff's Office

A woman who was arrested in Naperville after 11 years on the run from the law has been convicted of stealing from the Aurora hospital where she worked.

Montgomery resident Erika H. Luna, 46, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of forgery in the 2002 case. She embezzled an estimated $10,100 while working in the human resources department of Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora.

Kane County Circuit Court Judge Susan Clancy Boles accepted Luna’s plea and sentenced her Thursday to 180 days in jail, according to court records. Luna was jailed following her arrest last winter, and has already completed serving that term.

Boles also ordered Luna to make $5,273.34 in restitution to the hospital and pay $6,903.34 in fines and legal costs, a total of $12,176.68, court records showed. The judge also placed Luna on two years of probation.

Luna also pleaded guilty last month in DuPage County Circuit Court in Wheaton to a felony charge of theft of more than $500 but less than $10,000 stemming from the embezzlement. As happened on Thursday, she was sentenced to 180 days in jail and placed on probation.

Naperville police arrested Luna the afternoon of Feb. 26, while investigating a traffic crash on the College of DuPage’s Naperville campus. Police, while examining Luna’s identification, learned she was wanted in the 11-year-old forgery and theft case.

City of Aurora spokesman Dan Ferrelli earlier this year said a police investigation showed Luna began forging checks in late 2001 and early 2002. She “forged, cashed and deposited into her own, personal accounts … checks belonging to past hospital employees,” Ferrelli said.

That investigation began in April 2002, after a Rush-Copley human resources official was contacted by a job applicant who in 2001 attended a paid employee orientation session, Ferrelli said.

The applicant “ended up not taking the position with the hospital, and never received a paycheck,” Ferrelli said. The woman did, however, receive a federal W2 form at the end of the year, for taxes owed on the orientation session.

Hospital officials then began investigating the matter and found Luna had forged the applicant’s paycheck and deposited it into a personal account. Ferrelli said further investigation “uncovered numerous other, similar, instances” of fraud.

Luna was then indicted in DuPage County and Kane County, as Rush-Copley is in DuPage County, while the two accounts into which she deposited the forged checks were at banks in Kane County. The fraud totaled $5,500 in DuPage County and $4,600 in Kane County.

Ferrelli said police “hunted extensively” for Luna after she failed to appear for scheduled court dates, and concluded she had fled to either Nevada or Mexico. Subsequent efforts to confirm that information or locate her “came up negative,” he said.

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