Authorities launched a criminal investigation into allegations of fraud made against a former Cook County judge, Patricia Martin, on Monday. Martin, who resigned as presiding judge in the child protection division last year, has been accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from an elderly man and using the funds to buy cryptocurrency.
In addition, prosecutors have filed a petition for criminal contempt against Martin, which could bring criminal penalties upon her. This is on top of her already being disbarred and ordered by a judge to pay a default judgment of more than $1.1 million in the civil case.
The fraud complaint was initially filed in May to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, who handles allegations of lawyer misconduct. Oscar Wilkerson, the elderly man Martin was tasked with assisting financially, brought the lawsuit against her last year. However, due to Martin’s “continued unresponsiveness” to court orders, a default judgment was issued by Judge Anna Demacopoulos in May.
Martin has appeared in court for two recent hearings and is challenging the default judgment. She has argued, among other issues, that Wilkerson’s death in February left the case without a proper plaintiff.
The petition, filed by prosecutors, alleges that Martin moved Wilkerson’s money after being ordered not to by the judge. The petition was put on hold due to the ongoing criminal investigation.
Judge Demacopoulos urged the prosecutors to keep an open line of communication with Wilkerson’s attorneys, noting that the plaintiff’s attorneys may choose to not pursue the civil case if criminal charges are filed. Martin is due in court again in October.