Channel 11 fugitive surrenders to police

Posted by Mitchell - January 29, 2004 (entry 143)

January 23, 2004

Ten months after she was accused of embezzling more than $260,000 from WTTW-Channel 11, a former accountant at the public television station has surrendered to Chicago police.

Fe Corizon Cruz-Fabunan, who was accounts payable manager at Channel 11 for 30 years before she retired in December 2002, turned herself in to authorities Wednesday. Investigators said she fled to Hawaii in March 2003, shortly after she was charged with theft. The scheme allegedly involved checks written to phony vendors and deposited in Cruz-Fabunan's bank account. It was discovered after an audit of nearly 40,000 canceled checks dating back to April 1997.

The station said its losses were covered by insurance and that its management has instituted "a heightened sense of awareness" in internal accounting controls. "We have done everything humanly possible to ensure that a theft never happens again," said Dan Schmidt, president and chief executive officer of parent company Window to the World Communications.

"It was not only troubling for our viewers, our board and our management, but it was especially traumatic for our staff, the colleagues of this longtime trusted employee who betrayed her company."

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