College of DuPage radio station employee pleads guilty to theft

A radio station engineer at the College of DuPage whose theft arrest was the first in a series of allegations of campus financial impropriety pleaded guilty Tuesday to theft over $100,000 from a school.John J. Valenta will face a minimum six-year prison term...

College of DuPage radio station employee pleads guilty to theft

A radio station engineer at the College of DuPage whose theft arrest was the first in a series of allegations of campus financial impropriety pleaded guilty Tuesday to theft over $100,000 from a school.

John J. Valenta will face a minimum six-year prison term after entering a guilty plea before Judge Liam Brennan in DuPage County court on the same day his trial was to begin.

Instead, Valenta and DuPage prosecutors negotiated a plea agreement. In return for the guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop other charges against Valenta, and they also agreed to cap their maximum recommendation at 10 years in prison. The maximum term on the theft charge is normally 30 years, with a six-year minimum.

Valenta is to be sentenced May 19 and remains free on bond. Valenta declined to comment after entering his plea.

COD spokesman Joe Moore and WDCB-FM 90.9 manager Daniel Bindert were in court to hear the plea. Both declined to comment beyond offering a statement from COD President Ann Rondeau.

"Mr. Valenta's fraud violated the public trust in addition to harming the college," Rondeau's statement read. "Now that he has admitted his guilt the college will continue its efforts to ensure that he is fully held accountable, including by seeking restitution."

Authorities said Valenta fraudulently billed the college for $400,000 in parts for the radio station that were never installed. When Bindert became station manager in 2013, he became aware of unusual billing and alerted authorities.

February trial set for man accused of billing scheme at COD radio station Clifford Ward

A man accused of defrauding the College of DuPage radio station — whose alleged activities touched off a widespread examination of operations throughout the Glen Ellyn school — will go on trial in February.

John J. Valenta, 67, of Wheaton, will face trial in DuPage County court beginning Feb. 28....

A man accused of defrauding the College of DuPage radio station — whose alleged activities touched off a widespread examination of operations throughout the Glen Ellyn school — will go on trial in February.

John J. Valenta, 67, of Wheaton, will face trial in DuPage County court beginning Feb. 28....

(Clifford Ward)

Valenta, who had a previous conviction for fraudulent billing while working at the Elmhurst College radio station, was fired from COD in February 2014.

Clifford Ward is a freelance reporter.

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