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Former Bensenville man gets 11 years for $513,000 theft, jumping bail

A man who fled the Chicago area in 2008 after he pleaded guilty to stealing more than $513,000 from his employer was sentenced to 11 years in prison Monday.

Santhosh Thomas, 51, pleaded guilty to felony theft on January 7, 2008, but failed to show up for a court hearing in June of that year, according to a statement from the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office.

Thomas had been on the run ever since, but was arrested this April near Houston and brought back to the DuPage County jail, the state’s attorney’s office said.

The theft charge stemmed from allegations that Thomas stole more than $513,000 from Collaborative Learning Inc. between March 2006 and January 2007, prosecutors said.

As the company’s former Chief Financial Officer, Thomas withdrew money from the company’s bank account, wrote checks to himself without authorization and made unauthorized purchases with a company credit card, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors claim he also falsified Quickbooks records to hide the theft. The company immediately contacted Westmont police after they discovered what happened.

Thomas, formerly of Bensenville, was sentenced Monday to eight years in prison for the theft and another three years for jumping bail, the state’s attorney’s office said. He was also ordered to pay full restitution to Collaborative Learning.

“Thanks to the perseverance of law enforcement, Mr. Thomas’ illegal activities have finally caught up with him,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in a prepared statement.

“Today’s sentencing sends a strong message that if you are found guilty of a crime in DuPage County you will be held responsible,” Berlin said. “You cannot outrun the law. You will be caught and you will serve your sentence.”