Senior admin. for Dolton, Thornton Twp. Keith Freeman arraigned on bankruptcy fraud charges

Liz Nagy Image
Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Senior admin. for Dolton, Thornton Twp. arraigned in federal court
Keith Freeman, senior administrator for the villages of Dolton and Thornton Township, was arraigned in federal court on charges of bankruptcy fraud.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Keith Freeman, a senior administrator for both the village of Dolton and Thornton Township was arraigned in federal court Wednesday on charges of engaging in a bankruptcy fraud scheme.

The 45 year old, who lives in Orland Park, stood beside his defense attorney, silent and defiant.

The charges, filed in a federal indictment last week, allege Freeman engaged in made false statements in his bankruptcy petition to conceal his assets and sources of income and a significant claim against him from creditors.

The charge is punishable by a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. An arraignment date has not yet been set.

According to the indictment, Freeman filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago on Jan. 3.

The indictment alleges that Freeman made several false statements and omissions in the document, including knowingly underreporting income from his employment as both the village administrator for Dolton and the municipality manager for Thornton Township, as well as fees he received from his private consulting business.

Freeman also allegedly concealed that the village of Robbins had filed a claim against him related to about $90,396 that he received in addition to his authorized salary while he was the village administrator for Robbins, a position he held from 2017 to 2021.

Freeman also submitted an alleged copy of his 2022 individual income tax return, which represented that Freeman's total income from employment was $45,186.

The indictment states that Freeman knew he had not filed an income tax return for that year, and that his actual income, which included a $100,000 salary for the Dolton position alone, was much more.

On Jan. 30, while testifying under oath at a meeting of creditors, Freeman allegedly falsely represented that he was not an employee of Dolton and that he did not receive payment from Dolton, the indictment states.

The following month, Freeman allegedly caused his pay from Dolton to be directly deposited into a recently opened bank account that he had not disclosed.

"That doesn't make it anything other than a bankruptcy case. There are plenty of public officials in many situations who are hardworking and struggling during tough times," said defense attorney Josh Herman.

Freeman is in charge of running the day-to-day in neighboring south suburban communities.

A close ally of embattled Dolton mayor Tiffany Henyard, Freeman has now been named in multiple lawsuits alleging improper termination by Dolton employees, and withholding a business license.

He pled not guilty before a federal judge for personal bankruptcy fraud, but the indictment against him said the federal charge is part of an "ongoing investigation." His attorney declined to give any details about what that ongoing investigation may entail.