Former Gilman clerk pleads not guilty to official misconduct, theft

WATSEKA — A former city clerk in Gilman pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony charges of official misconduct and theft in connection with the alleged theft of at least $42,000 in city funds.

Michelle L. Fancher, 50, who listed an address at 509 N. Thomas St. in Gilman, was arraigned in Iroquois County Circuit Court on the two Class 3 felonies that were returned in a grand jury indictment on Feb. 7.

Through her attorney, Lance Cagle, Fancher demanded a jury trial, and the case was placed on Judge James Kinzer’s next available jury trial calendar. A pretrial hearing was set for 1:30 p.m. March 29.

Fancher remains free after posting $500 of her $5,000 bond.

State’s Attorney Jim Devine said that between 2011 and 2017, Fancher allegedly took cash from Gilman residents who were paying their water, sewage and garbage fees. Devine said Fancher allegedly marked the accounts as paid but pocketed the money.

Devine said that in August 2017, Fancher went on vacation, then city officials found issues with the books. When Fancher was confronted, she resigned.

According to Mayor Rick Theesfeld, Fancher had served as Gilman’s elected city clerk for an estimated 15 years.

If Fancher is convicted, she could get probation or up to 15 years in prison.

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