PD: Wife of ex-chief stole from husband's lodge

Posted at 1:10 PM, May 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-20 18:47:54-04

AURORA, Ind. – Another theft of public funds has shocked this small community.

The wife of a former police chief is accused of stealing more than $20,000 from the Fraternal Order of Eagles lodge. And her husband is the group treasurer.

"They're such nice people that you don't think things like that happen," said Candy Tibbetts, an Eagles member.

Aurora police Det. Vernon McBribe explained how Dreama Cotton got her hands on the money under her husband's nose.

"The break in the chain, so to say, would be after the money was collected by the treasurer. From that step to it being deposited in the bank is where the money went missing," McBride said.

Dana Cotton told police he gave the money to his wife to deposit. But investigators found evidence that she may have pocketed most of the cash.

Dreama Cotton was indicted on May 6 on theft and perjury counts.  Both are level 6 felonies. She is also charged with lying to a grand jury on May 5.

The theft of cash and checks started in September 2014, according to an indictment. Officers were tipped off by a US Bank fraud investigator.

"You just can't imagine her being charged with such a thing," said Tibbetts.

Just three months ago, police charged Aurora EMT Craig Whitham with stealing more than $100,000 from emergency services.

"You just can't understand how all that happens-- that's a lot of money, a lot of money!" Tibbetts said.

Cotton is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing in Dearborn County on July 5.