Our Pledge To You

News

Uncle ripped off murdered family’s charity fund, AG says

The west suburban brother of a woman who was strangled along with her two sons in 2009 is accused of misappropriating $33,000 from a charity set up in the slain family’s name.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed suit in Cook County Tuesday against Mario D. DeCicco, who was the director of the fund, “Sheri Ann & Her Boys.”

According to the lawsuit, DeCicco spent only $2,550 to further violence prevention, which was the stated purpose of the fund.

Another $33,173 appears to have been used for “DeCicco’s and/or others’ own personal benefit,” the suit states.

The lawsuit doesn’t specifically say how the money was spent.

“The circumstances of this case are extremely disheartening,” Madigan said in a prepared statement. “I am filing this action to ensure that the misappropriated charitable funds are recovered and dedicated to violence-prevention efforts as originally intended.”

DeCicco, who lives in La Grange Park, could not immediately be reached for comment.

DeCicco is the brother of Sheri Ann Coleman. Coleman, 31, and her sons, Garrett, 11, and Gavin, 9, were found strangled in their beds in their home in downstate Columbia, Ill., in 2009. Coleman’s husband, Christopher Coleman, was later convicted in the slayings in a case that appeared on CBS’ 48 Hours.

Prosecutors alleged Coleman killed his family to avoid a divorce, which would have exposed an extramarital affair, potentially jeopardizing his job as security chief for televangelist Joyce Meyer.

Last year, DeCicco told a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he’d left $28,000 in cash to a South Side women’s shelter. When the reporter asked for the shelter name, DeCicco replied: “I don’t have to tell you.”

The lawsuit seeks to have a judge remove DeCicco as the charity’s president and dissolve the charity.