Former Cook County Judge Patricia Martin faces a seven-count indictment for allegedly stealing retirement funds and savings from World War II aviator Oscar Wilkerson Jr.
Cook County court records
Former Cook County Judge Patricia Martin returned to a Cook County courthouse last week to face criminal charges for allegedly stealing several hundred thousand dollars from the accounts of the last-known surviving member of the Tuskegee Airmen.
Martin appeared at the courthouse in Bridgeview on Friday, where she now faces seven felony counts for allegedly taking more than $100,000 from the accounts of Oscar Wilkerson Jr.
She is accused of doing so over a two-year period that began when Martin was given control of Wilkerson’s finances when the nonagenarian World War II veteran moved into a nursing home in Orland Park in 2020.
Martin, who was head of the child protection division of the Cook County Juvenile Court system until she retired from the bench in 2020, is the niece of Wilkerson’s former wife. Wilkerson, the last known member of the trailblazing all-Black Tuskegee aviators, died in February, a day before his 97th birthday.
Martin was not formally arraigned on Friday because her case will be assigned to a judge from outside Cook County, according to her attorney, Michael Leonard. Martin now lives in Missouri, and was allowed to return to the state, according to court records. Her next court hearing is set for December in Bridgeview.
Martin, who has already been disbarred and faces a $1.2 million civil judgment over the alleged theft from Wilkerson, will fight to clear her name, Leonard said.
“She’s definitely looking to defend herself vigorously,” Leonard said. “She’s a wonderful person with an unbelievably positive reputation, and we expect that all to come out in these proceedings.”
The charges in the indictment against Martin, which were handed up Nov. 9, include counts of theft, money laundering, financial exploitation of an elderly person and running a continuing criminal enterprise. Prosecutors allege that Martin took money from Wilkerson’s accounts and used it to buy cryptocurrency.
According to a civil lawsuit filed against Martin before Wilkerson’s death, Martin stole more than $380,000 from Wilkerson, with Wilkerson learning the money was missing when he got a bill for $40,000 in unpaid fees from his nursing home.
Lawyers for Wilkerson claimed that Martin drained his bank and retirement accounts and repeatedly accessed the accounts even after a judge ordered her not to. That judge in May entered the $1.2 million judgement against Martin and urged Wilkerson’s attorneys to seek criminal contempt charges against Martin.
The day after the judgment was entered, the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission filed a complaint against Martin. Martin gave up her license, admitting in a disciplinary filing that the allegations in the complaint would be proved.