School clerk latest to face federal charges in CPS fraud investigation

Also facing charges in a related case are former Brennemann Elementary School Principal Sarah Jackson Abedelal, former business manager William Jackson and former Assistant Principal Jennifer McBride.

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A sign is displayed on the front of the headquarters for Chicago Public Schools on Jan. 5, 2022.

Ashley Beard, a business clerk at Caldwell Math and Science Academy, is charged with wire fraud in a new indictment along with Debra Bannack and Anthony Rasmussen, who worked for a Chicago Public Schools vendor.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

A business clerk at Caldwell Math and Science Academy on the South Side faces federal criminal charges in the latest indictment to result from a burgeoning fraud investigation.

Ashley Beard is charged with wire fraud in the new indictment along with Debra Bannack and Anthony Rasmussen, who worked for a Chicago Public Schools vendor. All three are now accused of a scheme to fraudulently deliver iPhones, iPads and gift cards to CPS employees.

Bannack is from Schaumburg and Rasmussen is from Des Plaines, while Beard is from Hammond, Indiana. Bannack, who worked for Warehouse Direct along with Rasmussen, was previously charged in March. Warehouse Direct has only been identified as “Company A” in charging documents.

Beard’s attorney could not immediately be reached Tuesday. Rasmussen’s lawyer declined to comment.

Also facing charges in a related case are former Brennemann Elementary School Principal Sarah Jackson Abedelal, former business manager William Jackson and former Assistant Principal Jennifer McBride.

The new indictment alleges that Beard was responsible for procuring ink, paper and other printer supplies. It said that Beard, Abedelal, Jackson and other CPS employees would order non-school items from Bannack and submit bogus paperwork to CPS to make the orders look legitimate, while Bannack and Rasmussen supplied them with iPhones, iPads and more than $40,000 in prepaid gift cards, including $2,000 in Disney prepaid gift cards.

The scheme cost CPS about $75,000, according to the indictment.

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