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Charges: Illinois man stole $800K from disabled youth group

Stuart Nitzkin, 45, of Deerfield, was charged with one count of wire fraud in a criminal information made public Thursday in federal court.
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Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 2:56 PM CDT
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CHICAGO (AP) — The former executive director of a suburban Chicago nonprofit devoted to helping disabled children has been charged with stealing more than $800,000 from the group and using the money for personal expenses.

Stuart Nitzkin, 45, of Deerfield, was charged with one count of wire fraud in a criminal information made public Thursday in federal court.

Court records show an arraignment has been set for Wednesday and that Nitzkin may change his plea to guilty at that hearing, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The charges against Nitzkin do not name the organization he worked for, saying only that he was executive director of a nonprofit group “committed to empowering physically disabled children to participate in physical and psychological rehabilitation through sports.”

However, online records show the nonprofit was the American Friends of the Israel Sport Center for the Disabled. That group is the U.S. chapter of a charity founded in 1960 that specializes in the physical and psychological rehabilitation of Israeli children and youth.

Nitzkin’s attorney, Adam Sheppard, said Friday the charity was “a cause to which (Nitzkin) was deeply devoted” and that he’s since worked to repay what he allegedly took from the group.

The charges allege that from April 2011 to September 2016, Nitzkin misappropriated at least $831,000 in funds meant for the Israel Sport Center for the Disabled, including directly taking cash from donors and using it to pay personal expenses.

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