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Former College Professor Indicted on Fraud Charges for Allegedly Embezzling More Than $650,000 From Student Organization

CHICAGO — A former college professor has been indicted on federal fraud charges for allegedly embezzling more than $650,000 from a national student organization committed to improving minority representation in the pharmacy industry.

While serving as the volunteer Executive Director of the student association, CARMITA COLEMAN withdrew cash and issued checks from the group’s bank accounts for her and her family’s personal benefit, according to an indictment returned Thursday in U.S. District in Chicago.  Coleman attempted to cover up her scheme by submitting false and misleading reports that concealed her withdrawals, the indictment states.  When a new individual was appointed to replace Coleman as Executive Director, Coleman knowingly delayed turning over access to the organization’s bank accounts so that she could continue spending the money for her personal benefit, the indictment states. 

The fraud scheme allegedly lasted from 2011 to 2016.  Coleman, who separately during the scheme was a professor and interim dean at the Chicago State University College of Pharmacy, fraudulently misappropriated approximately $651,272 from the student association, the indictment states.

The indictment charges Coleman, 49, of Frankfort, with four counts of wire fraud.  Arraignment in federal court in Chicago has not yet been scheduled.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Heidi Manschreck.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Each count of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

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