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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Ex-Chicago Schools Chief Pleads Guilty to $23 Million in Corruption and Fraud

Barbara Byrd-Bennett

Chicago, IL — 66-year old Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the former chief executive of Chicago’s public school system, has plead guilty in federal court to her crimes of corruption. She admitted to attempting to give $23 million in contracts to her former employer in exchange for bribes and kickbacks. Had it been successful, she would have profited more than $2 million.

She plead guilty just 5 days after federal prosecutors revealed that they were aware of her scheme and were planing to indict her, and two other executives that run executive education training firms in Chicago. Byrd-Bennett had previously been employed at these firms.

Plea Agreement

As part of the plea agreement offered to her, prosecutors have agreed to drop 19 of the 20 fraud charges if she continues to cooperate with federal investigators. Prosecutors also said they would only recommend a prison term below sentencing guidelines and seek a sentence of just 7 1/2 years.

Her Apology

Referring to Chicago’s educators, students and their parents, Byrd-Bennet told reporters: “I’m terribly sorry and I apologize to them. They deserve much more than I gave them.”

But some say that her corruption may have been going on for sometime. Sadly, she was also formerly the chief executive of both Cleveland and Detroit school systems.

Her Sentencing

Currently, she remains free on $4,500 bond, but will be sentenced early next year.

Recently, as she left the courthouse in downtown Chicago, people yelled “shame on you” and “you are a disgrace to African-Americans,” but she reportedly did not respond.