Former Clerk for Chicago Transit Authority Retirement Plan Sentenced to a Year in Prison for Fraudulently Obtaining $356,000 in Plan Funds
CHICAGO — A former associate clerk in the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office lied under oath to a federal grand jury when she denied selling tickets for the Clerk’s campaign fundraisers to other employees in the office, according to a federal indictment announced today.
BEENA PATEL sold fundraiser tickets to colleagues in the Clerk’s office and knew that other employees did the same, the indictment states. The fundraisers were held several times each year by an entity that raises money for the Clerk’s campaign fund. When asked about it during testimony before a federal grand jury on or about Oct. 15, 2015, Patel said she never sold tickets to employees of the Clerk’s office, and that she knew of no other employees who collected money or handed out tickets to the fundraisers, according to the indictment. The indictment states that both statements were false.
The indictment was returned Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. It charges Patel, 55, of Chicago, with three counts of making false declarations before a grand jury. Each count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The Court has not yet scheduled an arraignment hearing.
The indictment was announced by Joel R. Levin, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Kimberly M. Foxx, Cook County State’s Attorney; Patrick M. Blanchard, Cook County Inspector General; and Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“Perjury before a grand jury is a serious offense and fundamentally undermines the investigative process of the grand jury,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Levin. “Witnesses who testify before federal grand juries must be held accountable if they violate the oath they take to tell the truth.”
According to the indictment, the grand jury was conducting an investigation of possible criminal violations in connection with the purchasing of jobs and promotions within the Clerk’s office. Patel testified before the grand jury on or about Oct. 15, 2015, and on or about July 14, 2016, and the indictment alleges that Patel lied during both sessions.
In addition to the false statements about the fundraiser tickets, the indictment also charges Patel with providing false statements to the grand jury about two other matters. Patel allegedly lied when she denied knowing that another employee in the Clerk’s office had spoken to law enforcement and testified in the grand jury. The indictment further alleges that she falsely denied having knowledge of efforts made to assist another Clerk’s office employee with a promotion and pay increase. The same employee had received two prior raises and promotions after the employee’s brother contributed approximately $10,000 to the entity that raises money for the Clerk’s campaign fund, the indictment states.
The public is reminded that an indictment 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.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Heather McShain and Ankur Srivastava.