CARROLLTON — A man charged with stealing up to $60,000 from a small Carrollton charity has pleaded guilty and will serve time in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Bradley Cooper, 42, of rural Carrollton was charged with theft and forgery after it was discovered he had taken around $60,000 from the Chloe Foundation, a charity that works to help families undergoing long-term medical care with needs such as gas and food.
Cooper pleaded guilty in August and was sentenced Oct. 31 in Greene County court to serve 180 days in the IDOC, with two years of mandatory supervised release.
The Greene County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation into Cooper in November 2017 after Chloe Foundation co-founder Yvonne Harp alerted authorities to missing funds. Cooper, treasurer for the charity’s board, was presenting fiscal information that proved inaccurate and some information normally presented to the board was being omitted.
Thinking it suspicious, Harp checked the charity’s bank balance and found it was much lower than board members were being told.
Cooper had held his position since 2010 and most of the recent money that went missing disappeared via almost weekly transactions. Greene County authorities arrested Cooper in December 2017.
The Chloe Foundation was founded by Richard and Yvonne Harp in 2010 after the death of their grandchild, Chloe Murphy, who was diagnosed as a 3-month-old with Diamond-Blackfan anemia, a bone marrow disorder that prevents the body from making enough red blood cells.
Richard said that he hopes Cooper has learned his lesson but added that he hopes this incident doesn’t shake the public’s confidence in the charity, which has provided assistance to families for nearly a decade.
“I hope people still believe in us, we’ll keep a better eye on things,” Richard Harp said. “He took advantage of a lot of good people. … He didn’t wipe us out totally, we’ll continue to do it and carry on. We’ll build it back to where it was.”
Nick Draper can be reached at 217-245-6121, ext. 1223, or on Twitter @nick_draper.