A former Pekin police officer who stole money from the police department has applied to Gov. Pat Quinn for executive clemency to expunge a felony from his record.
Former Pekin Police Deputy Chief Charles W. Bassett, 60, of Tremont, is scheduled for Jan. 14 clemency hearing in Springfield.
Meanwhile, on Oct. 20, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation refused to renew a professional license held by Bassett because he did not report his criminal past. The renewal was denied because of “multiple violations of the Private Detective, Private Alarm, Private Security and Locksmith Act and the Rules for Administration Act,” according to IDFPR documents.
IDFPR spokeswoman Susan Hofer said that was all the information that could be released. She said she does not know in which line of business Bassett works.
Tazewell County State’s Attorney Stewart Umholtz said Tuesday that he had received a notice informing him of the clemency hearing and that he could submit a written response to the petition for clemency or appear in person before the board hearing the case.
Umholtz said he is still reviewing the petition to determine how he will respond and that he was unaware of the IDFPR decision.
“When I look at a petition for clemency or for pardon, I evaluate whether the person was honest in their petition, if they acknowledge their responsibility for their criminal conduct and have they presented evidence that they are entitled to this relief,” Umholtz said. “Usually there has to be something they have done with their life after their conviction.
“My thought process is that I want people who screwed up and committed crimes to become successful. We don’t want convicted criminals to continue to come back into the criminal justice system — we want it to knock some sense into them so they improve their lives and become useful members of the community.”
Bassett was a 30-year veteran of the department at the time of the theft.
On Oct. 10, 2002, then-Police Chief Tim Gillespie asked the Illinois State Police to investigate the missing money. Bassett was placed on paid administrative leave on Oct. 10, 2002, and resigned from the department on Dec. 2, 2002.
According to court records, Bassett stole $624 from the department’s seize fund and $1,235 from the petty cash fund, of which he had control, to gamble and to repay debts associated with a failed business venture.
He was sentenced to 30 months probation on Aug. 28, 2003, for official misconduct. He served 100 community service hours and paid restitution for the theft.
Bassett lost a pension valued at $1 million. He received $40,218.10 in pension benefits from December 2002 to September 2003 and had paid $94,404.24 into the pension fund during his career. The pension board terminated his pension benefits on Sept. 30, 2003, and refunded his contributions in the amount of $54,186.14.
Bassett filed a civil suit against the pension board seeking a refund of the total amount he had contributed with interest. The 10th Judicial Circuit Court ruled in Bassett’s favor, with the exception of granting him interest. The pension board appealed to the 3rd District Appellate Court, which upheld the circuit court’s ruling but also ruled that Bassett should receive the interest.