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Widow of Joseph Gliniewicz, Illinois Cop Who Staged Suicide, Indicted For Alleged Embezzlement of Charitable Funds

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Courtesy Lake County Sheriff's Office

A grand jury has indicted the widow of Lt. Joseph Gliniewicz, the Fox Lake, Illinois, cop who staged his own suicide in September after embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from a police training program for children.

Sources confirm to PEOPLE that Melodie Gliniewicz has been charged for her alleged role in her husband’s scheme: She is charged with four counts of disbursing charitable funds without authority for personal benefit or use and two counts of money laundering, sources say.

A statement released by Melodie Gliniewicz’s lawyers claims the 51-year-old Gliniewicz “is devastated by the decision to bring charges,” and characterizes Gliniewicz as “a victim of her husband’s secret actions.”

The statement to PEOPLE adds that Gliniewicz “looks forward to her day in court to show the world her innocence.”

She faces up to seven years behind bars if convicted.

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Melodie Gliniewicz’s 52-year-old husband, Joseph, had been on the Fox Lake force for 32 years prior to his Sept. 1 suicide. His death sparked a prolonged manhunt for three men Gliniewicz had radioed he was chasing.

In November, Melodie Gliniewicz filed a civil motion against the state, seeking access to her bank accounts; her assets were frozen soon after her husband’s death.

Police say the charges against Melodie Gliniewicz stem from an investigation that began back in November into the finances surrounding the Fox Lake Law Enforcement Explorer Post 300.

She was released after posting bail and will appear in court next on Feb. 3, Det. Chris Covelli of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office tells PEOPLE.

Joseph Gliniewicz was that program’s adviser and allegedly used Explorer funds for his own personal expenses.

Prior to his death, Gliniewicz was known around town as “G.I. Joe” and viewed as an upstanding police officer and a mentor to young people. But after his death, his personnel file, which was obtained by PEOPLE, revealed what prosecutors described as “extensive criminal acts.” The file showed he had been suspended numerous times and that he had been accused of sexual harassment and intimidating police dispatchers, including once with guns.

With reporting by HILARY SHENFELD