New York: An Indian-origin woman has been indicted for lying to a federal grand jury investigating possible hiring violations in a circuit court office in Chicago.
Beena Patel, 55, a former associate clerk in the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk's Office, lied under oath to a federal grand jury when she denied selling tickets for the Clerk's campaign fundraisers to other employees in the office, according to a federal indictment returned yesterday in US District Court in Chicago.
The indictment charges Patel, who is from Chicago, with three counts of making false declarations before a grand jury. Each count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Patel sold fundraiser tickets to colleagues in the Clerk?s office and knew that other employees did the same, the indictment states.
The fundraisers were held several times each year by an entity that raises money for the Clerk?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 of the Clerk?s office, and that she knew of no other employees who collected money or handed out tickets to the fundraisers. The indictment states that both statements were false.
"Perjury before a grand jury is a serious offense and fundamentally undermines the investigative process of the grand jury,? Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Joel Levin said.
"Witnesses who testify before federal grand juries must be held accountable if they violate the oath they take to tell the truth."
According to the indictment, the grand jury was conducting an investigation of possible criminal violations in connection with the purchasing of jobs and promotions within the Clerk?s office. Patel testified before the grand jury in October 2015 and July 2016, and the indictment alleges that Patel lied during both sessions.
In addition to the false statements about the fundraiser tickets, the indictment also charges Patel with providing false statements to the grand jury about other matters in the investigation as well.