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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Indiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 22, 2019

Former IPS Teacher's Union President Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Defendant stole over $100,000

     Indianapolis – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today that Rhondalyn Cornett, 54, of Indianapolis has entered a plea of guilty to embezzling over $100,000 from the teachers’ union.

     According to the plea agreement, Cornett was the president of the Indianapolis Education Association, the union that represents the teachers of Indianapolis Public Schools, from November 2013 until her resignation in November 2018. Cornett used her position and authority to write checks from the union’s bank account as well as use the union’s debit card for personal expenses and to withdraw cash. In total, Cornett stole over $100,000.

     “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting individuals, like Cornett, who abuse their positions of public trust,” said Minkler. “Teachers depend on the union dues they’ve paid from their paychecks in order for the union to represent their best interests.”     

     This case was jointly investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

     “Today’s guilty plea demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to identify, arrest and prosecute anyone who participates in defrauding programs that benefit our public institutions,” said Special Agent in Charge Grant Mendenhall. “This guilty plea comes as a result of the dedicated and tireless efforts of agents, analysts and prosecutors committed to holding accountable those who deliberately compromise the integrity of their public position for personal gain.”

     “Teachers carry the great responsibility of shaping our future — cultivating the next generation of our city’s workforce and the leaders who will carry Indianapolis forward. It is unacceptable that anyone would seek to take advantage of the selfless individuals who have dedicated their careers to educating. The women and men of the IMPD remain committed to working alongside our state and federal partners to hold these bad actors accountable,” said IMPD Chief Bryan Roach.

     According to Assistant United States Attorney Bradley P. Shepard who is prosecuting this case, Cornett faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years supervised release following imprisonment.

     In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution demonstrates the Office’s firm commitment to prosecuting large-scale fraud schemes that warrant federal resources and arrest those who abuse their positions of trust. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan 5.3

Updated July 22, 2019