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Former principal in Chicago charged with stealing at least $200,000 from school system

July 14, 2021
Sarah Jackson Abedelal, 57, who was an elementary principal until 2019, allegedly approved overtime for school employees who kicked back cash to her.

A former Chicago Public Schools elementary school principal faces federal charges stemming from an alleged scheme to have employees file for overtime they didn’t work and kick back at least $200,000 to her.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Sarah Jackson Abedelal, 57, of Chicago, has been indicted on 10 counts of wire fraud.

Abedelal was the principal of Brennemann Elementary School on the city's North Side for about 12 years until 2019, when the district's inspector general began investigating the alleged scheme.

The indictment alleges that Abedelal and several administrative underlings at Brennemann, including the assistant principal, a clerk and a business manager, took part in the scheme over a seven-year period beginning in 2012. None of the other administrators has been criminally charged, and they are not identified by name in the indictment.

Abedelal told employees that she would sign off on overtime that they never worked, and that the extra money they received would be used to pay legitimate school expenses incurred by the school. However, the indictment says she actually was using the money for her own purposes.

Abedelal allegedly converted the cash she received to buy money orders that she used to pay personal expenses, including the mortgage on her home.

As part of the charges, prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of Abdelal’s four-bedroom home.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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