A former low-level City Hall clerk admitted to a federal judge Tuesday she stole nearly three-quarters of a million dollars of taxpayer money to use “for myself.”
Antionette Chenier, 51, of Midlothian, pleaded guilty to stealing $741,299 in payments meant for Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communication between August 2008 and January 2014, when she worked for the city’s Department of Transportation.
She also pleaded guilty to tax evasion, admitting she filed a false tax return claiming just $52,043 in adjusted gross income in 2012. In reality, she’d taken $166,885 from Chicago that year alone, according to her plea agreement.
“You stole money from Chicago and put it in your account?” U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan asked Chenier.
“Yes,” she replied.
Der-Yeghiayan said he would sentence Chenier on Sept. 10. When he does, she could face as many as 15 years in prison.
Chenier worked for the city from May 1990 until January 2014. As a clerk in the Department of Transportation from 2008 until 2014, Chenier helped process payments from companies for van and dumpster permits — typically written payable to the Office of Emergency Management and Communication.
So she opened a business account at Charter One Bank in March 2009 in the name of “OEMC Chenier.” She deposited $86,010 that year alone.
Charter One bank staff noticed the unusual activity on one of Chenier’s accounts in January 2014 and froze it, court records show.