Former Clerk for Chicago Transit Authority Retirement Plan Sentenced to a Year in Prison for Fraudulently Obtaining $356,000 in Plan Funds
CHICAGO — A senior accountant at the Illinois Medical District Commission pleaded guilty today to charges she embezzled more than $130,000 from the agency by misdirecting procurement funds into her personal accounts.
CYNTHIA FERNANDEZ-ALONSO, 42, of Berwyn, used her position to direct payments from the Commission’s bank account into three personal accounts, according to a plea agreement. Fernandez-Alonso recorded the payments in the Commission’s internal records, but attributed them as having been made to the agency’s energy provider and other vendors, the plea agreement states.
Fernandez-Alonso pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement. The conviction carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine, plus mandatory restitution. U.S. District Judge Elaine E. Bucklo scheduled a sentencing hearing for February 22, 2016, at 10:00 a.m.
The Illinois Medical District Commission is a governmental agency that facilitates collaboration among the various medical, health and social service agencies operating within the Illinois Medical District on Chicago’s Near West Side. Fernandez-Alonso was entrusted with the responsibility of authorizing payments from the Commission’s bank account to its outside vendors and suppliers.
From at least November 2013 to at least April 2015, Fernandez-Alonso directed deposits into her accounts on a nearly monthly basis. In some months, multiple transfers were made. On the same day she received one such deposit – for $4,852 on Dec. 10, 2014 – a purchase of jewelry was made with her Chase debit card at Kay Jewelers for $2,847, according to the plea agreement.
The guilty plea was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maureen Merin and Sarah Streicker.