A federal indictment announced in Chicago May 5, accuses an Indian-American who used to work at the office of Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, of lying under oath to a federal grand jury.
Beena Patel, 55, of Chicago, the indictment says, denied selling tickets for Brown’s campaign fundraisers to other employees in the office and of knowing that other employees were allegedly doing the same.
The fundraisers were held several times each year by an entity that raises money for Brown’s campaign fund. When asked about it during testimony before a federal grand jury in October 2015, Patel said she never sold tickets to employees in Brown’s office, and that she knew of no other employees who collected money or handed out tickets to the fundraisers, according to the indictment. Meanwhile, Brown, who has been re-elected for a fifth term in office is under investigation and has denied any wrongdoing.
The indictment, which was returned May 4 in U.S. District Court in Chicago, charges Patel with three counts of making false declarations before a grand jury. Each count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The Court has not yet scheduled an arraignment hearing according to a press release from the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
In addition to the false statements charges relating to the fundraiser tickets, the indictment also charges Patel with making false statements to the grand jury about two other matters. She allegedly 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 alleges 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 raises money for the Clerk’s campaign fund, the indictment says.
Brown has been close to the Indian-American community and frequented numerous events held by different organizations.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Patel’s indictment was the latest development in an ongoing investigation that has in the past, netted another person of South Asian descent who was sentenced to probation this February for allegedly lying to the federal grand jury.