Former Schools CEO Byrd-Bennett To Be Sentenced In Bribery Case

CHICAGO (CBS) — Nearly two years after she resigned as the head of the nation’s third largest school district, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett was set to learn how long she’ll be going to prison for a $2.3 million bribery scheme.

Byrd-Bennett, 67, faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to mail fraud. However, because she cooperated with federal investigators, prosecutors have recommended she serve about 7 years behind bars.

Her lawyers have asked for about half that amount.

Byrd-Bennett was indicted in 2015 for steering more than $23 million in no-bid contracts from CPS to her former employer, SUPES Academy, in exchange for $2.3 million in kickbacks.

The smoking gun in the case against her was an email in which she discussed the scheme, saying “I have tuition to pay and casinos to visit.”

She pleaded guilty less than a week after the charges were announced, agreeing to cooperate in the cases against her co-defendants, SUPES owners Gary Soloman and Thomas Vranas.

Vranas was sentenced to 18 months in prison Friday morning.

Last month, Solomon was sentenced to 7 years in prison. Federal prosecutors have cast him as the mastermind of the scheme.

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