Former Cook County judge accused of bilking Tuskegee airman to face criminal case

Patricia Martin is accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from Oscar Wilkerson Jr., a former member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen.

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Former Cook County Judge Patricia Martin poses for a photograph verifying her identity with a cryptocurrency exchange.

Former Cook County Judge Patricia Martin, who managed the savings and retirement accounts of Oscar Wilkerson Jr., this month was ordered to pay more than $1.2 million in damages, fees and court costs after a lawsuit alleged she stole more than $380,000 from him.

Cook County court records

Cook County prosecutors said Thursday they plan to bring a criminal contempt case against a retired judge accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a former member of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Assistant State’s Attorney Jeremy Bergstrom announced that at a hearing in a lawsuit filed against former Cook County Judge Patricia Martin.

Bergstrom, who’s part of the prosecutor’s office’s Civil Actions Bureau, told Judge Anna Demacopoulos he would need “several weeks” to file the case.

In May, Demacopoulos ordered the former judge to pay more than $1.2 million after she failed to turn over records or answer questions about what happened to money in Oscar Wilkerson Jr.’s saving and retirement accounts she had been tasked with managing.

On Thursday, an attorney for Martin — who previously represented herself — said he planned to file a motion to vacate Demacopoulos’ order.

Oscar Lawton Wilkerson Jr., who was the last known surviving member of the pioneering Tuskegee Airmen in the Chicago area.

Oscar Lawton Wilkerson Jr., who was the last known surviving member of the pioneering Tuskegee Airmen in the Chicago area.

Provided

Wilkerson, a former member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen and a Congressional Gold Medal recipient, had tapped Martin to help him with his finances in his final years. But he discovered last year that he owed thousands in missing payments to the senior living home where he was residing and that his financial accounts had been drained.

He sued Martin last September after his attorneys repeatedly failed to get answers from the former judge about what happened to nearly $250,000 of saving and retirement funds. Wilkerson, 96, died in February of natural causes.

Attorneys for Wilkerson said they discovered Martin had stolen the money and put $110,000 of it into cryptocurrency, according to court filings.

Wilkerson’s attorneys initiated the criminal contempt proceedings against Martin earlier this month after they accused Martin of moving money to a cryptocurrency exchange despite a court order prohibiting her.

“If the allegations are true … that Ms. Martin violated the court’s order and did in fact access her cryptocurrency account within hours of the court issuing the order, and then eight times subsequent to that, that is an indirect criminal contempt,” Demacopoulos said at a June 12 hearing.

Martin is also facing action that will likely lead to her being disbarred by the Illinois Supreme Court later this year.

A day after Demacopoulos’ order, the state Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission filed a formal complaint against Martin.

Instead of fighting of the accusations, Martin filed a motion on Monday asking the Supreme Court to take her law license. She said in an affidavit that, if the commission’s case were to be presented at a hearing, “The evidence would clearly and convincingly establish the facts and conclusions of misconduct set forth in the statement of charges.”

Also Thursday, the state Supreme Court issued an order terminating Martin as an advisor to their committee on juvenile courts.

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