Former College Dean Sentenced to a Year in Federal Prison for Embezzling More Than $650,000 From Student Organization
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois
CHICAGO — A former college dean has been sentenced to a year in federal prison for embezzling more than $650,000 from a national student organization working to improve minority representation in the pharmacy industry.
While serving as the volunteer Executive Director of the student association, CARMITA COLEMAN withdrew cash and issued checks from the group’s bank accounts for her personal benefit. Coleman used debit cards linked to the organization’s accounts to make various personal purchases, including for trips to the Caribbean. She attempted to cover up the fraud by submitting false and misleading reports that concealed the withdrawals. When a new individual was appointed to replace Coleman as Executive Director, Coleman knowingly delayed turning over access to the organization’s bank accounts so that she could continue spending the money for her personal benefit.
During the fraud scheme, which lasted from 2011 to 2016, Coleman separately worked as a dean and professor at various colleges of pharmacy.
Coleman, 50, of Frankfort, Ill., pleaded guilty earlier this year to a federal wire fraud charge. In addition to the year-and-a-day prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly on Wednesday ordered Coleman to pay the remaining restitution of $490,528.
The sentence 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 Field Office of the FBI.
“Coleman’s offense is particularly egregious because she was supposed to be the adult in the room — the faculty member entrusted with overseeing the student organization’s accounts – but instead used the organization’s funds as her own piggy bank,” Assistant U.S. Attorney L. Heidi Manschreck argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “As a result of her scheme, the organization was deprived of funds that were supposed to support its laudable mission, and not to line Coleman’s pockets.”
Updated May 5, 2022