File Photo – Whittier Elementary School in Waukegan | Photo: Google Street View

The interim principal at an elementary school in Waukegan has been put on leave after she was indicted on federal charges for allegedly participating in an overtime fraud scheme in Chicago.

Whittier Elementary School Interim Principal Jennifer McBride was placed on leave on Wednesday after the district was made aware of charges against her, according to Waukegan School District 60 Superintendent Theresa Plascencia.

“Our District was made aware this evening that the Interim Principal at Whittier was indicted today on charges related to alleged financial misconduct. The allegations are not related to her performance at Whittier Elementary or with the Waukegan Public Schools. They precede the individual’s time in our District,” Plascencia said in a statement to parents.

“The employee has been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation by our District, effective immediately. We are working to select an experienced temporary replacement at Whittier while our investigation continues. District-level administrators will help at Whittier until a replacement is located. We can not share further details of our investigation at this time,” Plascencia said.

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On Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois announced McBride, 40, of Northbrook, and William Jackson, 37, of Chicago, were added to a federal indictment in a fraud scheme.

McBride was charged with four counts of wire fraud and Jackson was charged with five counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud.

The charges are part of an ongoing investigation in which Sarah Jackson Abedelal, 58, of Chicago, was the first to be charged.

An indictment alleges Abedelal carried out a fraud scheme while serving as the principal of Brennemann Elementary School in Chicago.

Abedelal, Jackson, and a sales representative for a company that sold goods to Chicago Public Schools allegedly submitted or assisted in submitting false purchase orders and invoices to CPS totaling more than $45,000, which was purported to be for school supplies.

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The indictment said that the trio knew the false orders and invoices were actually meant to conceal the receipt of iPhones, iPads and approximately $30,000 in gift cards intended for the personal use of Abedelal.

Prosecutors said a second part of the scheme was allegedly carried out by Abedelal and McBride, with assistance from Jackson, two other former employees of the school and others.

Abedelal authorized unearned overtime pay for certain employees and directed them to deliver the proceeds to Abedelal or McBride in the form of cash or gift cards, the indictment said.

Abedelal told the employees that the money would be used to fund legitimate school expenses, when, in fact, Abedelal intended to convert the money to her own personal use, the indictment alleges.

Abedelal, McBride, Jackson and others prepared or caused to be prepared fraudulent overtime sheets to conceal the scheme, the indictment said.

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Each count in the indictment is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.