ROCKFORD (WREX) — Winnebago County officials have locked coroner Bill Hintz out of county buildings and have suspended his email account.
The move from county officials comes less than a week after the Winnebago County Board unanimously approved a resolution to call for Coroner Bill Hintz to either resign from his position or take administrative leave as Hintz faces 49 counts of theft, official misconduct and forgery.
“We have a duty to maintain the integrity of the Coroner’s Office and protect the citizens of Winnebago County while Mr. Hintz’s criminal cases are pending,” said Chairman Chiarelli.
The chairman's office and the sheriff's office have provided additional staff and resources to assist the employees at the coroner's office.
“The criminal allegations against Mr. Hintz are in no way a reflection on any of the other employees that remain in that office. I’m committed to assisting with the leadership needs of the Coroner’s Office for as long as it takes for criminal cases against Mr. Hintz to be resolved,” said Sheriff Caruana.
Two weeks ago, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced an additional 12 charges against Hintz, alleging he stole approximately $14,500 in cash that belonged to deceased individuals out of the coroner’s office’s evidence vault. Raoul said Hintz also required family members to pay cash in order to recover the cremated remains of their homeless loved ones but kept the money for himself.
The new charges come almost a year after Hintz was initially charged in October 2020, accused of stealing taxpayer money for trips and hotels with his wife, Michelle, who also faces charges.
According to court documents, obtained by 13 WREX, Hintz allegedly stole money from a deceased resident as recently as April 2021, 6 months after the initial October charges were announced.
Hintz has pleaded not guilty to the charges from last October and his attorney has told 13 WREX Hintz will plead not guilty to the new charges.
Hintz is scheduled to be arraigned on Sept. 22 on the new charges.