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Press Release

Accountant Charged With Embezzling Nearly $130,000 From The Illinois Medical District Commission

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A senior accountant at the Illinois Medical District Commission embezzled nearly $130,000 from the agency by directing funds into her personal accounts while fraudulently claiming the payments had been sent to the agency’s energy provider, according to a federal criminal complaint unsealed today.

CYNTHIA FERNANDEZ-ALONSO, 42, of Berwyn, was arrested by FBI agents this morning. She was charged with embezzlement in a criminal complaint filed yesterday in U.S. District Court and unsealed after the arrest. She is scheduled to make an initial court appearance at 11:00 a.m. today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan.

According to the complaint affidavit, Fernandez-Alonso worked as a senior accountant for the Illinois Medical District Commission, a governmental agency that receives federal funds to facilitate collaboration among the various medical, health and social service agencies operating within the Illinois Medical District on Chicago’s Near West Side. Fernandez-Alonso had the sole responsibility of authorizing payments from the Commission’s bank account to its outside vendors, including Constellation Energy, the Commission’s electrical and natural gas supplier, according to the complaint affidavit.

From February 2014 to at least April 2015, according to the affidavit, Fernandez-Alonso used her position to direct payments from the Commission’s bank account into two personal checking accounts. Fernandez-Alonso recorded the payments in the Commission’s internal records, but attributed them as having been sent to Constellation Energy, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit describes how Fernandez-Alonso arranged for 32 separate direct deposits into her personal accounts at Bank of America and Chase Bank, totaling $129,487. On the same day she received one such deposit – for $4,852 on Dec. 10, 2014 – a purchase was made with her Chase debit card at Kay Jewelers for $2,847, the affidavit states.

The charge of embezzlement from a program receiving federal funds carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, as well as mandatory restitution. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The arrest and complaint were announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Robert J. Holley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maureen E. Merin.

The public is reminded that a complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


Updated September 15, 2015