WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Lundgren Accused of Misappropriating Funds in Estate Battle

Feb 28, 2018

Justin Lundgren, a detective with the McDonough County Sheriff's Department, is involved in what he calls an "estate battle."  

Court documents show that after Lundgren's mother passed away in June, 2016, he was made executor of her nearly $600,000 estate. But, his brother, Jon, petitioned that Justin be removed as executor because Justin “wrongfully authorized and executed multiple online banking transfers from the estate bank account into his own bank account to the detriment of the estate and its beneficiaries.”

Justin Lundgren made more than 70 individual online banking transfers between January, 2017 and mid-December, 2017. The last dated transaction was December 13 according to the bank statements. He transferred more than $55,000 from the estate bank account to a bank account ending in 0594, without providing any detailed reason as to why or what the money was paying for.

The bulk of the transactions were made after the mother's home was sold in June of 2017. In November of 2017, Lundgren made 17 individual bank transfers totaling more than $11,000 to the account ending in 0594:

  • Nov 1: $450
  • Nov 2: $385
  • Nov 3: $480
  • Nov 6: $440
  • Nov 7: $470
  • Nov 7: $690
  • Nov 8: $330
  • Nov 9: $455
  • Nov 10: $225
  • Nov 14: $940
  • Nov 21: $690
  • Nov 22: $250
  • Nov 24: $2,580
  • Nov 27: $1,090
  • Nov 28: $940
  • Nov 29: $680

Lundgren’s attorney, Sharbel Rantisi, responded to the petition that asked for Justin's removal as executor. In the response, Rantisi wrote, "Justin Lundgren denies that he misappropriated funds  of the estate. Any funds expended were for estate expenses or for reimbursement of estate expenses, including the maintenance, security, and care of estate assets."

Lundgren told Tri States Public Radio that the money helped take care of his mother's animals, though he did not elaborate. His mother’s will does not mention any animals although a family member said that Lundgren was left several cats to care for.

In May, 2017, a McDonough County judge issued an order terminating independent administration of the estate and asked that the executor, Justin Lundgren, file an inventory and accounting for estate expenses. Another judge in October issued a citation to show cause.

The next court hearing is schedule for March 26, which is almost a week after the Illinois primary election.

Justin Lundgren is one of three Republicans running for McDonough County Sheriff in the primary. Tri States Public Radio asked about the case because if Lundgren is elected, he would oversee a more than $2.5 million budget for the sheriff's department.

Lundgren called this a typical estate battle and said he received high marks from the county auditor when he served as chief deputy for a year-and-a-half and helped manage the sheriff's department’s budget.