Six Educators Nabbed in "Operation Cookie Jar"

Defendants accused of stealing funds meant for schools

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announces the charges in a Wednesday news conference.

    Six former public education employees are accused of using their positions to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in public funding.

    State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced the charges Wednesday in an investigation dubbed "Operation Cookie Jar."

    The defendants include Alex Boyd, former superintendent of Illinois School District 147, and his secretary, Mable Chapman. Investigators say Chapman assisted Boyd in misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds from the district using life insurance schemes, selling back vacation and sick days to the tune of $350,000 and using the school-issued credit card to purchase personal items.

    Louis James, a CPS manager of sports administration, is charged with Theft of government property. He's accused of fraudulently obtaining checks in order to purchase personal items such as flowers, champagne and condoms.

    Carol Howley, a former Professor at City Colleges of Chicago, is charged with Theft of government property for allegedly lying about her education credentials which qualified her for an additional $307,000 in salary over the course of 15 years.

    Natatia Trotter-Gordon, 43, is a former director of Business and Industry at Kennedy-King College who is charged with eight counts of Forgery. She's accused of cashing $51,000 in checks meant for the school to her own personal account.

    Former Thurgood Marshall Middle School teaching assistant Sonia Lopez is charged with Theft from a school for allegedly issuing 14 fraudulent checks to herself in excess of $21,000.

    The "Cookie Jar" operation has been in effect since 2012, nabbing a total of 27 defendants, investigators say.