Chicago Schools Chief Indicted


Barbara Byrd-Bennett, former Chicago Public Schools CEO and superintendent, was indicted on federal fraud charges that accuse her of taking bribes and kickbacks for steering more than $23 million in no-bid contracts to a former employer.

Byrd-Bennett resigned in June amid a federal probe charging her with 15 counts of mail fraud and five counts of wire fraud. She was cooperating with prosecutors and has agreed to plead guilty, U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon said during a press briefing.

Fardon said Byrd-Bennett abused her position "to line her own pockets and those of her co-defendants." The 43-page indictment alleges Byrd-Bennet her co-defendants -- Gary Solomon and Tom Vranas -- began scheming almost immediately after she was hired for Chicago's top schools spot in 2012. 

If convicted, Byrd-Bennett faces up to 20 years in prison, mandatory restitution, and a maximum fine of $250,000 for each count of mail and wire fraud.

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