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Court Battle Continues for Former Sheriff's Deputy Accused of Felony

Nov 26, 2019

A tentative deal has been reached in an estate battle involving former McDonough County Sheriff's Deputy Justin Lundgren and his siblings. Details were not made public after a court hearing Monday, and it turns out not everyone is on board with the deal.

Lundgren's brother and sister say the agreement – reached between Lundgren's attorney and the special prosecutor's office -- does not go far enough. They want to submit victim impact statements to the court before any agreement is finalized.

Those statements are due early next year, when the case returns to court.

The special prosecutor’s office, a division of the Illinois Attorney General’s office, is handling the case rather than the McDonough County State’s Attorney’s office because of Lundgren’s previous close working relationship with local prosecutors.

Court documents state Justin Lundgren is charged with a felony count of theft between $10,000 and $100,000. The documents state he exerted unauthorized control over the property of the estate of his mother, Mildred Lundgren, and tried to permanently deprive the estate of the property.

During the primary campaign in 2018, TSPR reported that Lundgren was involved in an estate battle with his siblings that continued past the election. Lundgren was accused of misappropriating funds from his mother's estate. But he said the money transferred from the estate account into his personal bank account went toward caring for his late mother's cats. 

In May, 2018,  a judge removed Lundgren as executor of his mother’s estate and ordered him to repay nearly $100,000 he had spent from the account.  

Lundgren spent more than a year on paid administrative leave from the sheriff’s department. The department put Lundgren on leave on May 30, 2018. His final day at the department was August 15, 2019. His annual salary was $58,000.

Sheriff Nick Petitgout has declined to say why Lundgren was placed on leave. Petitgout also won’t say whether Lundgren resigned or was fired.

This story included segments from earlier stories by former TSPR reporter Emily Boyer.

This story was produced by Tri States Public Radio.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.