9 school employees indicted in payroll scam

  • By Paul D. Bowker
  • Education reporter
  • October 22, 2008 @ 8:50 AM

Nine Chicago Public Schools employees face criminal charges in connection with a fraudulent payroll scheme that cost taxpayers more than $130,000, officials say.

Seven of the employees, who include teachers and clerks at five schools, have resigned or been fired, the school district says. Disciplinary action is pending against the remaining two -- payroll clerks accused of processing bogus checks.

Investigators for the school system's inspector general found the employees processed 50 fraudulent paychecks,  officials said yesterday.

“We are holding these individuals accountable for their actions, and we’ll take every possible action in pursuing full restitution. We owe our taxpayers nothing less,“ says Arne Duncan, CPS chief.

Once the fraudulent paychecks were received, the recipients paid “large portions” of the cash back to payroll department employees, officials say.

The checks ranged from $1,620 to $7,361 in net pay.

“This is the largest prosecution of its kind that I can remember, at least in the recent past,” says James Sullivan, Inspector General for the Chicago Board of Education. “Had this not been caught when it was, the financial loss to the system would have been much larger.”

After Sullivan’s office conducted its investigation, the findings were forwarded to the Cook County State Attorney’s Office’s Governmental Fraud and Financial Crimes Unit for criminal prosecution.

CPS did not identify the payroll department employees.

Those named in connection with the scheme are: 

  • John D. Johnson, teacher, Bogan Technical High School, charged with receiving $60,000
  • Shandta Lambert, clerk, Ross Elementary, charged with receiving $8,100
  • Brigitte Saffold, clerk, Bogan Technical, charged with receiving $28,000
  • Naomi Maxon, clerk, Stagg Elementary, charged with receiving $17,000
  • Tiffani Isabel, clerk, Holmes Elementary charged with receiving $3.900
  • Maureen Nagy, teacher, Bond Elementary, charged with receiving $16,800
  • Adam Perry, business services analyst, charged with receiving $6,900


Paul Bowker, a Chicago-area journalist with 25 years of experience, covers Chicago Public Schools for the Daily News.