CHICAGO—The former acting director of a Cook County job-training program was arrested today on federal charges for allegedly engaging in a scheme to falsify documents related to a state review of the county’s 2009 Summer Youth Program, which was funded by a federal grant. The defendant, Brendolyn Hart-Glover, was field operations manager and, during 2010, served as acting director of the Cook County President’s Office of Employment Training, or POET, which last year was renamed Cook County Works. POET received federal grants through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), which allocated approximately $5.67 million to POET for summer youth jobs in 2009 and 2010, with POET enrolling approximately 1,400 participants in the 2009 program.
Hart-Glover, 42, of Chicago, who supervised POET’s field offices in Oak Forest, Cicero, Maywood, and Chicago Heights, was charged with engaging in a scheme to falsify documents in a criminal complaint that was unsealed today following her arrest. She was scheduled to appear at 4 p.m. today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Gilbert in Federal Court.
According to the complaint, in October 2009, DCEO sent POET a letter identifying problems with hundreds of participant files, including approximately 70 files that were missing entirely. In July 2010, DCEO informed POET that it would not reimburse approximately $1.4 million in questioned costs based on the documentation that POET had produced to that point, and DCEO gave POET another month to provide additional documentation.
According to several cooperating witnesses, including POET employees at the time, Hart-Glover instructed them to “reproduce” or “recreate” the files that were needed to maintain the funding. “Let me make something clear. It is not an option for you to not have the Summer Youth files,” she allegedly told a small group of employees in the summer of 2010. In August 2010, Hart-Glover wrote a letter that POET sent to DCEO along with two boxes containing allegedly recreated files and documents. The letter stated that 56 six of the approximately 70 missing files were located and submitted.
However, the charges allege that POET employees did not “locate” the files that POET produced to DCEO and, instead, POET employees recreated those files by forging, altering, and backdating documents. Also, contrary to statements in the letter, POET staff did not verify an applicant’s compliance with the Selective Service Act or check an applicant’s low-income status at the intake site because POET employees did not have access to computers at those locations, the complaint states.
In March 2011, federal agents interviewed Hart-Glover. The complaint alleges that she denied knowing the following: that POET employees falsified documents provided to the state agency; that some birth certificates were missing from the summer youth files; that birth certificates were being recreated by POET employees; and that anyone fabricated the public aid printouts so that the print date appeared to be the date of the application.
The arrest and charge were announced by Gary S. Shapiro, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; James Vanderberg, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General in Chicago; Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Thomas P. Brady, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago. The Cook County Inspector General and the current administration of Cook County Works cooperated with the investigation.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Deis.
Making false statements carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
A complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.