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Ex-county training official arrested in fraud case
Documents were falsified in effort to keep federal funds, prosecutors allege

Saturday, July 14, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times
by Annie Sweeney

Brendolyn Hart-Glover was feeling pressure with state officials red-flagging the Cook County summer youth jobs program she helped manage and a newly elected County Board president talking about the need for change, authorities say.

"None of us are safe. ..." Hart-Glover is alleged to have written in an email in late 2010. "We sink and swim together."

On Friday, federal agents arrested the onetime acting director of the scandal-plagued President's Office of Employment Training on charges she instructed staffers to doctor files in an attempt to prevent the loss of some federal funding for the county program.

Criminal charges are likely against others as well, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Friday in federal court in Chicago. Prosecutors said a number of former POET employees who have cooperated in the federal probe have been told they would be charged with wrongdoing.

Among those cooperating was a child of undisclosed age who helped the child's parent, then a regional POET manager, forge birth certificates as part of the scheme, allegedly in Hart-Glover's presence, according to the complaint.

"Brendolyn has never had so much as a parking ticket," her attorney, Daryl Berry, said after the 42-year-old Chicago resident was ordered released from custody. "She was just a model citizen as far as I know."

POET has been a feeding ground for corruption investigators in recent years. In 2008 county prosecutors charged three POET officials and five others with stealing $1.6 million in loans and federal money intended for training for the disadvantaged.

Under then-County Board President Todd Stroger, the program lost millions of dollars in federal funding meant to train thousands of workers because it spent money inappropriately or failed to spend it before deadlines, according to state officials. The office was overhauled by Stroger's successor, Toni Preckwinkle, after her election in 2010, and Hart-Glover and six other employees were suspended after an internal probe uncovered wrongdoing, Preckwinkle's office said.

The complaint against Hart-Glover detailed a series of phone calls and meetings she had after the state raised questions in 2009 about hundreds of files related to POET's summer youth jobs program. About 70 files also were missing. The office risked losing $1.4 million in reimbursements if it could not straighten out the problems.

"Let me make something clear," Hart-Glover is alleged to have said in the summer of 2010 to four staffers gathered in an office. "It is not an option for you to not have the Summer Youth files."

Under Hart-Glover's direction, the staff allegedly launched an effort to "reproduce" or "re-create" birth certificates, proof of economic hardship and other information in the files that was required for applicants to the program, the charges allege.



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