WIU student charged with theft, fraud
By Jodi Pospeschil
Date: February 11, 2004
MACOMB - A Galesburg woman was arrested on felony charges over the weekend for allegedly using her computer to defraud a man in Turkey out of $2,400 and transfer the money to her student account at Western Illinois University.
Tabitha Lynn Cooper, 22, was charged with theft over $300, a Class 3 felony, and computer fraud, a Class 4 felony, during an initial court appearance Monday in McDonough County Circuit Court.
WIU officials said Cooper had been corresponding over the Internet with a Turkish citizen. She allegedly got into the man's Bank of America account online on Jan. 22 and transferred $2,400 to her WIU account.
The charges say she "knowingly accessed" a Bank of America computer and used it to defraud the bank.
Prosecutors said the money has been returned to the bank by WIU and is now considered a loss to the school.
Prosecutors said Cooper already has spent a "significant portion" of that transferred money, which could be used for anything from tuition to food purchases at the school.
The WIU Office of Public Safety was notified about the incident by one of the Turkish man's friends, who is in college in Missouri.
Cooper is in the McDonough County Jail on $5,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 1.
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