WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Illinois. – A former Illinois coroner pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of using his position to steal money from taxpayers and indigent people in Winnebago County, officials said.
William Hintz, 52, pleaded guilty to theft of government property over $10,000 and under $100,000 and official misconduct based on forgery.
Attorney General Kwame Raoul filed suit in October 2020, alleging that as Winnebago County coroner, Hintz and his wife used county funds for personal expenses.
Additionally, Hintz allegedly spent more than $10,000 on hotel rooms, car rentals, gasoline and tolls unrelated to county business from April 2018 to July 2020, authorities said.
Raoul filed a lawsuit against Michelle Hintz in October 2020, claiming she was directly involved in the unauthorized use of her husband’s county credit cards.
Hintz also allegedly edited and submitted various hotel billing statements to the county to substantiate what he said were authorized credit card expenses.
He allegedly created a fake conference program to try to prove his attendance at a conference in New York. However, there would have been no evidence of his registration or presence.
Illinois State Police began investigating Hintz for alleged fraudulent use of county gas and credit cards.
After the original 2020 indictment, FAI investigators received additional information that Hintz stole about $2,500 from the families of people who were cremated at county expense, prosecutors said.
Hintz was sentenced to 180 days in jail and a total of 48 months probation.
In addition, he is ordered to pay $32,817.05 in damages.
On Wednesday, Hintz also resigned as Winnebago County coroner.
“The actions of this former official are reprehensible. As grieving families mourned the loss of family members, the defendant was busy defrauding them and the taxpayers of Winnebago County,” Raoul said. “Public officials who break the trust of the public they serve must be held accountable.”
The case against Michelle Hintz is currently pending.