Man charged with embezzling Naperville agency back in U.S.

Date: 2013-08-27

By Clifford Ward
Special to the Tribune

The former head of a Naperville adoption agency who authorities said fled the country last year on the eve of a grand jury indictment for embezzling has been returned to the U.S. from Germany, according to the Illinois attorney general's office.

Robert Geniesse, 51, the former CEO of Our Children's Homestead, was being held Tuesday in the DuPage County Jail in lieu of $2 million bail.

He was returned late last week from Germany, where officials say he had fled days before he was charged with stealing $200,000 from his agency, which helps children with special needs. Officials said he used the money to fund a film production venture.

German authorities remanded Geniesse to federal agents Thursday, and he was flown back to the U.S. He appeared Friday in DuPage County bond court, Maura Possley, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Lisa Madigan, said Tuesday.

Charges against Geniesse include theft over $100,000, forgery, wire fraud and using charitable trust funds for personal gain, according to court records. He is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

Federal and state authorities had been searching for the former executive since Oct. 20, when they believe Geniesse fled the U.S. for Germany. A grand jury indicted him five days later on charges of misappropriating $200,000 to finance a film company that produced two short films dealing with adoption issues.

Our Children's Homestead, the agency Geniesse helped found in the mid-1990s, arranges foster care and adoptions for children with special needs. The agency fired Geniesse in 2011, when it became aware of possible financial impropriety, according to court files. Police were alerted to the situation.

In 2012 court documents, federal investigators said Geniesse left his home in Florida last October and traveled to Frankfurt, Germany, to meet his wife, a German national who also had worked at the social service agency. She had left the U.S. the previous month, officials said.

He was taken into custody Feb. 13 in Kiel, Germany, Possley said. Geniesse tried to fight extradition but lost. He was flown to O'Hare and turned over to investigators from the attorney general's office, she said.

Before he fled to Germany, Geniesse had most recently been a resident of Ormond Beach, Fla., according to the FBI.


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