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Report: CPS Tech Coordinator Stole More Than $400,000

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago Public Schools technology coordinator stole more than $400,000 in school funds before fleeing to Mexico, where he was later found dead, according to the just-released Chicago Board of Education Office of the Inspector General’s annual report.

The technology coordinator — not named in the 43-page report — created “fake vendors,” with much of the money going into his personal bank account, according to the report.

Over one 22-month period, the coordinator received more than $144,00 in suspect reimbursements.

Most of the fake vendors were “either classmates of the technology coordinator when he attended the high school or were students at the school” when the coordinator worker there, the report states.

During the course of the investigation, the technology coordinator withdrew $70,000 from a personal bank account, refused on advice of counsel to speak with the inspector general’s office, resigned from CPS, fled to California and was found dead in Tijuana, Mexico, a short time later, according to the report.

In that case, one of many highlighted in the report, the inspector general’s office worked with federal investigators, but to date, no criminal charges have been filed, investigators said.

In a separate case, two CPS employees — including a high school principal — enrolled “ghost students” in an attempt to qualify for more staff.

In a third case highlighted in the report, CPS employees allowed a vendor to provide “inferior, substitute products,” costing CPS nearly $100,000 in unnecessary charges.

The inspector general’s office received a total of 1,460 complaints this year — about 36 percent of which were reported anonymously.

About 18 percent had to do with residency issues, another 13 percent concerned “inattention to duty” and 9 percent involved allegations of “on-duty criminal conduct.”

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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