CHICAGO (CBS) — A former Chicago State University professor is now facing federal fraud charges for allegedly embezzling more than $650,000 from a national student organization committed to improving minority representation in the pharmacy industry.
The indictment against Carmita Coleman, who was a volunteer Executive Director for the Student National Pharmaceutical Association, alleges she withdrew cash and issued checks from the group’s bank accounts for her and her family’s personal benefit. Coleman attempted to cover up her scheme by submitting false and misleading reports that concealed her withdrawals, the indictment states. 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, the indictment states.
The fraud scheme allegedly lasted from 2011 to 2016. Coleman, who also was a professor and interim dean at the Chicago State University College of Pharmacy, fraudulently misappropriated approximately $651,272 from the student association, the indictment states.
The indictment charges Coleman, 49, of Frankfort, with four counts of wire fraud. Arraignment in federal court in Chicago has not yet been scheduled.
In 2017, the Texas-based pharmaceutical association filed a federal lawsuit, accusing Coleman of improperly withdrawing about $650,000 from its accounts for her personal use. That lawsuit alleged Coleman used funds from the organization’s bank accounts for clothes, food and trips during five of the years she was executive director. SNPhA is an educational service association of pharmacy students who are concerned about the profession of pharmacy, healthcare issues, and the poor minority representation in these areas, according to the group’s website.
Each count of wire fraud in this latest case is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.