Hursey, arrested in Florida, returned to Urbana for theft case

URBANA — A former Savoy man and Urbana High School sports star who allegedly bilked an elderly woman out of more than $16,000 has been returned to Illinois to face prosecution for theft charges lodged against him six years ago.

Darren S. Hursey, 45, was arrested in Broward County, Fla., in May in connection with a domestic dispute.

State's Attorney Julia Rietz said authorities there declined to prosecute Hursey but found the outstanding warrant issued in Champaign County in December 2008 for theft over $10,000.

Hursey has been in jail in Broward County since his May arrest and was returned to Urbana this week.

Rietz said Hursey worked with a company called ABC Viaticals in 2007 and approached a then 85-year-old Savoy woman about an investment opportunity.

"He told her Dr. Eric Jones needed cash to start Lipo Laser. Between April 6 and July 24, 2007, she wrote him five checks totaling $14,278.50.

He gave her no paperwork about where her money was going but assured her she would have her money back plus interest by September," Rietz said.

Rietz said when the woman did not get her money, she called Hursey and got no response. However, she did send a letter to Jones, who informed her that Hursey was not representing him.

"Even after that, Hursey called her from Florida and said he needed another $2,300 'surrender fee' to get her money back and she wired it to him, bringing the total loss to $16,578," Rietz said.

The Champaign County sheriff's office began investigating the case in June 2008, resulting in the warrant being issued later that year.

The victim is now 92 and still lives in Savoy.

"I trusted him. I shouldn't have. That's about all I can say," said the woman, who spoke on the condition that her name not be used. "I remembered a lot more about it then than I do now. I have all the information written down."

Hursey is a member of the Urbana High School athletic Hall of Fame who graduated in 1986. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers to play baseball.

He is due back in court Aug. 5 and continues to be held in lieu of $10,000 bond.

If convicted, he faces penalties ranging from probation to three to seven years in prison.

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alabaster jones 71 wrote on June 26, 2014 at 2:06 am
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You would think that after being lucky enough to successfully skip town and avoid prosecution, one might want to keep a low profile and not draw police attention to himself in his new locale.  Clearly, though, thinking isn't something that Mr. Hursey does very often.

I'm glad they finally caught him.  Preying on the elderly is about as cowardly as it gets.

Mamba wrote on June 26, 2014 at 1:06 pm

While I hope very much that Darren is made to make full restitution to this poor woman, and serves an appropriate sentence, I will say that I knew him in school and he was a very kind, generous, and honorable person with a loving heart. A popular athletic hero who stuck up for me (not so popular or cool) on more than one occasion. I lost track of Darren over the years, but I am sure he has been through hell and back with the loss of a son, and some very real personal struggles he has faced that I cannot imagine. I for one, will say a prayer that he finds a better path after he faces the consequences of his actions. Darren, you still have many, many friends around here that remember you with love. It's never too late to change.