Northbrook woman, Chicago man charged in fraud scheme at elementary school

Two additional people were charged Wednesday in an alleged fraud scheme at a Chicago elementary school.

Last July, Sarah Jackson Abedelal, 57, of Chicago was indicted by a federal grand jury on fraud charges for allegedly scheming to obtain overtime pay while serving as principal of Brennemann Elementary School on the North Side of Chicago from 2012 to 2019.

The indictment unveiled in court Wednesday named a second aspect to the alleged scheme – procurement fraud – and charged two new defendants: former Brennemann Assistant Principal Jennifer Bride, and former Brennemann Business Manager William Jackson.  

McBride, 40, of Northbrook, is charged with four counts of wire fraud, and Jackson, 37, of Chicago, is charged with five counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud.

Authorities said McBride allegedly participated in the overtime aspect of the fraud scheme, and Jackson allegedly participated in both the overtime and procurement aspects.

According to the indictment, the procurement aspect of the fraud scheme was carried out by Abedelal, Jackson and a sales representative for a company that sold goods to Chicago Public Schools.

Authorities said the three individuals allegedly submitted false purchase orders and invoices totaling more than $45,000 for office and school supplies to CPS.

In reality, authorities say the trio knew that the false orders and invoices were actually meant to conceal the receipt of iPhones, iPads and about $30,000 in gift cards — which were intended for the personal use of Abedelal.

The overtime aspect of the fraud scheme was allegedly carried out by Abedelal and McBride, with assistance from Jackson and two other former employees at the school, among others.


Abedelal allegedly told certain school employees that she would authorize overtime pay for hours the employees would not be required to work. 

She then directed the school employees to withdraw the overtime money in cash on the day their paychecks were deposited in their bank accounts, the indictment states.

Abedelal then allegedly met the employees individually in her office or classrooms and collected the money from them.

Abedelal allegedly told employees that the money would be used to fund school expenses, however, authorities say she intended to use the money for personal expenses.

Arraignments in U.S. District Court in Chicago have not been scheduled.