A former Pekin woman was indicted Thursday by a Tazewell County Grand Jury for allegedly stealing her daughter’s settlement of $251,953.27 from a restricted account.
Nicole L. Hackney, 45, now of Kansas, is charged with theft, a Class 1 felony, for stealing the money from a certificate of deposit that required that the funds remain in the child’s bank account until she turned 18 on Dec. 21, 2016. The certificate of deposit had the daughter’s name and Hackney’s name as her guardian.
The daughter went to the bank to inquire about the funds on or about her 18th birthday. The bank told her that it could not give her any information about the account. The bank a short time later received a letter from the daughter’s attorney inquiring about the money, which was the daughter’s portion of a settlement in the death of her sister in an ATV accident. The bank conducted an internal audit and found a court order attached stating the account was to be held for the benefactor until she was 18.
The bank vice president went to the Pekin Police Department. After the bank audit, according to court records, the bank vice president said the bank should not have issued the check to Hackney. Bank records showed Nicole Wilder, now Hackney, withdrew the money in August 2015. The daughter’s guardian ad litum, an attorney appointed by the court to watch out for her interests, said all parties were aware that the money was to be held for the daughter until she was 18, according to court documents.
The daughter told police that in August 2015 her mother said she was moving the money to another account to keep it safe from her father. In October 2016, the daughter told Hackney that she might need some money from the account. Her mother did not respond to her nor send her any money. The girl told police that she observed that her mother was living “well above her means” in an expensive home. She was having expensive plastic surgeries and vacations, records show.
The girl’s father became suspicious when the annual tax statement did not come. She then went to the bank to ask about the money.
Pekin police contacted Hackney in Kansas by phone on April 24, court records show. She told police she was “taking care of it for her” and that “it was too much money for her to have.” Hackney claimed she did not know about the court order keeping anyone from taking the money out of the girl’s account. When asked it she still had her daughter’s money, Hackney paused before allegedly admitting that it was gone. She then hung up the phone.
Hackney was taken into custody on June 12 and taken to the Tazewell County Justice Center where she posted $1,000 bond and was released. Her arraignment is scheduled for 2 p.m. on July 13.
Follow Sharon Woods Harris at Twitter.com/sharrispekin