SYCAMORE – Authorities said a Leland woman charged with felony theft stole more than $16,000 from a church day care and preschool, which was then forced to close.
Kristal Sinetos, 29, of the 300 block of East North Street in Leland, has been charged with theft and could face up to seven years in prison if convicted. She appeared in court Thursday via closed-circuit TV from the DeKalb County Jail.
A warrant was issued for Sinetos’ arrest June 22, with bond set at $50,000.
While Sinetos was employed as a child care worker with the United Church of Sandwich, she billed tuition, applied for state subsidies, handled receipts and accounting, deposited student tuition and state subsidy payments, and provided financial reporting to the board of directors, according to court documents.
Between January 2010 and January 2011, Sinetos stole cash and grant payments and charged personal items to her employer, totaling $16,756.85, according to court documents.
DeKalb County State’s Attorney Clay Campbell said the case had been under investigation for some time because it dealt with financial issues.
“It’s a pretty sad case,” he said.
The church’s lay leader, Sarah Stevens, said Sinetos was the director of the day care. She was released without cause in February 2011.
“It was with great sadness in June 2011 that we had to close the United Church day care and preschool, a program that had been a part of our church’s ministry since 1996,” Stevens said in a statement. “The actions of Ms. Sinetos have resulted in a significant financial loss, leading to the end of this program.”
Stevens said 10 to 12 employees lost their jobs when the day care and preschool closed. She estimated almost 50 children attended the day care or preschool.
At the time of its closure, clients and church members were told the day care had to close because of financial difficulties.
A private attorney will represent Sinetos, who will appear in court again July 5.