Federal Indictment Charges Former Vice Chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago with Devising Procurement Fraud Scheme
CHICAGO — A former vice chancellor for City Colleges of Chicago obtained payments, some in the form of kickbacks, from vendors in exchange for steering them contracts for community canvassing and flyer distribution services, according to an indictment returned in federal court in Chicago.
SHAROD GORDON, 45, of Oak Park, is charged with 16 counts of wire fraud. Gordon was employed by City Colleges of Chicago as District Director of Community Affairs, then as Associate Vice Chancellor of Community Relations and Student Recruitment, and most recently as Vice Chancellor of Legislative and Community Affairs.
The indictment alleges that some of the vendor-companies were formed by City Colleges employees or associates of Gordon for the purpose of applying for the contracts. In some instances, the work was never performed even though invoices were submitted and City Colleges paid them, the charges allege. Upon receipt of the payments, representatives of several vendor-companies gave a portion of the payments to Gordon, directly or indirectly, and some of those payments were in the form of kickbacks, the charges allege. The indictment seeks forfeiture of approximately $349,500 in criminally derived proceeds from Gordon and seven co-defendants.
The indictment was returned Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Arraignments have not yet been scheduled.
The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the FBI. The Office of Inspector General for the City Colleges of Chicago provided substantial assistance in the investigation. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Georgia N. Alexakis and Timothy J. Storino.
In addition to Gordon, the indictment charges seven other defendants with participating in the scheme:
- ANGELIQUE ORR, 47, of Berwyn, is charged with five counts of wire fraud. Orr was married to Gordon from 1998 to 2013, the indictment states.
- KRYSTAL STOKES, 39, of North Bay Village, Fla., is charged with two counts of wire fraud and one count of making a false statement to the FBI. Stokes previously worked at City Colleges as a community outreach worker.
- MARVA SMITH, 37, of Chicago, is charged with two counts of wire fraud. Smith worked at City Colleges as a liaison to governmental agencies.
- TIFFANY MCQUEEN, 43, of Naperville, is charged with two counts of wire fraud and one count of making a false statement to the FBI. McQueen was an alleged associate of Gordon.
- NANCY VAZQUEZ, 48, of Chicago, is charged with two counts of wire fraud. Vazquez was a lobbyist who operated a lobbying and consulting firm.
- MARQUITA PAYNE, 38, of Frisco, Texas, is charged with two counts of wire fraud. Payne was an alleged associate of Gordon and the registered agent of a consulting company.
- TIFFANY CAPEL, 35, of Detroit, Mich., is charged with one count of wire fraud. Capel was an alleged associate of Gordon who operated a marketing, branding, and apparel design company.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Each count of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, while the maximum sentence for each false statement count is five years. If convicted, the Court must impose reasonable sentences under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.