Former top Indian-American aide to Cook County Clerk in Illinois, convicted of perjury

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An Indian-American who formerly worked as a top aide for Illinois’ Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown, has been convicted on charges of perjury in relation to an alleged case of pay-to-play, news reports said.

The news of former associate clerk in Brown’s office, Beena Patel’s conviction made headlines, after she was found guilty April 26, by a federal jury.

Patel, 57, who according to the Chicago Tribune, while in office, supervised more than 500 employees, was accused of lying during a grand jury investigation that she had never sold tickets to her boss’ fundraisers, and that additionally, she did not know if a colleague also being investigated, had spoken to law enforcement.

Back in 2017, Patel was indicted on those same charges, according to a Justice Department press release of May 5, 2017. According to the indictment, the grand jury was conducting an investigation of possible criminal violations in an alleged pay-to-play operation within the Brown’s office. Patel testified before the grand jury on or about Oct. 15, 2015, and on or about July 14, 2016, and the indictment alleged that Patel lied during both sessions.

In addition to the false statements about the fundraiser tickets, the indictment also charged Patel with providing false statements to the grand jury about two other matters. Patel was alleged to have lied when she denied knowing that another employee in the Clerk’s office had spoken to law enforcement and testified in the grand jury. The indictment further alleged that she falsely denied having knowledge of efforts made to assist another Clerk’s office employee with a promotion and pay increase. The same employee had received two prior raises and promotions after the employee’s brother contributed approximately $10,000 to the entity that raised money for the Clerk’s campaign fund, the indictment stated.

Patel had pleaded not guilty to those charges.

In mid-March this year, the owner of a debt collection business was indicted on federal charges alleging he had donated thousands of dollars to Brown’s campaign fund etc., in a bid to get debt collection contracts from Brown’s office, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Brown herself has not been accused or tried for anything to date.

Patel’s attorney Walter Jones Jr. is quoted saying in news reports that his client was being made a scapegoat because of the “botched” investigation into the functioning of Brown’s office, wgntv.com reported.

Jones is quoted saying he will appeal the conviction, Chicago Tribune reported.

 

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