Former Indian-American Cook County clerk in Illinois sentenced

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An Indian-American who served as the associate clerk in the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County was sentenced Dec. 12, 2019, to two years in prison for lying under oath to a federal grand jury.

Beena Patel, 58, of Chicago, was convicted earlier this year of making false declarations before a grand jury.  The grand jury was conducting an investigation of possible criminal violations in connection with the purchasing of jobs and promotions in the Clerk’s office.

U.S. District Judge Sara L. Ellis imposed the two-year sentence after a hearing in federal court in Chicago, a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said.

“Defendant not only had answers to the questions the grand jury was asking, but had information that went to the very heart of its investigation,” the press release quoted Assistant U.S. Attorneys Heather McShain and Ankur Srivastava saying in their arguments in the government’s sentencing memorandum.  “Witnesses who lie during the course of a grand jury investigation not only violate their solemn oath to tell the truth, but also impede the grand jury’s ability to gather evidence,” McShain and Srivastava added.

According to evidence at trial, the grand jury was conducting an investigation of possible criminal violations in connection with the purchasing of jobs and promotions in the Clerk’s office.  Patel sold campaign fundraiser tickets on behalf of the Clerk to colleagues in the office and knew that other employees did the same.  Yet when asked about it during grand jury testimony on Oct. 15, 2015, Patel denied selling the tickets to employees and denied knowing that other employees had done the same.  The jury at trial found that Patel’s statements were false, the press release said.

Investigators found that Patel provided false statements to the grand jury about two other matters.  Patel lied when she denied having recent conversations with another Clerk’s Office employee who had previously loaned $15,000 to a company associated with the Clerk and her husband.  Patel also falsely denied contacting the Clerk’s Chief of Staff regarding a promotion opportunity for a Clerk’s Office employee whose brother had previously donated $10,000 to the Clerk’s campaign.

 

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