Chicago: Sale Rep Charged In Connection With CPS Fraud Scheme

By James R. Scott, The Chicago Times

March 15, 2022

CHICAGO – A fourth person has been charged in connection with the shameful Brennemann Elementary School fraud scheme.

According to federal prosecutors, Debra M. Bannack, 62, allegedly conspired with Brennemann principle and business manager by fulfilling nearly $75,000 worth of fake purchase orders for school supplies and material.  Bannack has been indicted on three counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud.  If found guilty, Bannack could face nearly 20 years in federal prison.

Bannack is a former sales representative for a vendor that supplied the Chicago Public Schools.  Federal documents indicate that Bannack supplied former Brennemann principal Sarah Jackson Abedelal, 57, and former business manager William Jackson, 37, with free iPhones and iPads for personal use.

Abedelal and Jackson were previously charged for their participation in the procurement scheme and another scam to defraud CPS out of overtime funds.  Federal prosecutors allege that Abedelal along with a former assistant principle, Jackson, and two other former staff members conspired in the overtime scam.  Abedelal allegedly convinced certain school staff members that overtime would be approved for hours they would not work.  According to federal documents, Abedelal instructed these employees to donate the illegal overtime funds to her with the promise that the funds would be used to benefit Brennemann Elementary.  However, prosecutors allege that Abedelal pocketed nearly $200,000 in overtime funds for personal use.

Abedelal has pleaded not guilty and faces 10 counts of wire fraud while Jackson faces 5 counts of wire fraud and 1 count of mail fraud.