ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — A northern Illinois coroner pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges alleging that he stole more than $14,000 in cash from dead people.
Winnebago County Coroner Bill Hintz pleaded not guilty to 12 counts, including official misconduct and theft of government funds, WREX-TV reported. A judge set his bond hearing for Oct. 8.
A Winnebago County grand jury indicted Hintz in early September on the charges, which accuse him of stealing about $14,500 in cash from the coroner’s office’s evidence vault. That money had belonged to deceased individuals.
Illinois General Kwame Raoul has also said that Hintz required family members to pay cash in order to recover the cremated remains of their homeless loved ones but kept the money for himself.
The new charges came nearly a year after Hintz was initially charged in October 2020, with several counts of official misconduct, forgery for allegedly spending money on hotel rooms, car rentals and other expenses unrelated to official county business.
WREX-TV reported that court documents the station obtained allege that Hintz stole money from a deceased resident as recently as April 2021, six months after the initial charges were announced.
Hintz’s wife, Michelle, also faces charges in the case filed last October. She also appeared in court on Wednesday, and her trial date was moved to Jan. 24, 2022.