Former IPS union president pleads guilty to $100,000 embezzlement

The former president of the Indianapolis Education Association, the union that represents the teachers of Indianapolis Public Schools, has pleaded guilty to embezzling $100,000 from the union, U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler announced Monday.

According to her plea agreement, Rhondalyn Cornett stole more than $100,000 from November 2013 until her resignation in November by writing checks from the union’s bank account and using the union’s debit card for personal expenses and to withdraw cash.

This case was jointly investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bradley Shepard, who is prosecuting the case, said Cornett, 56, faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years supervised release following imprisonment.

Cornett resigned upon request in early November after an investigation by the Indiana State Teachers Association.

The investigation came after a member of the district union filed a complaint with the state union in June over how Cornett handled operations. An audit indicated “serious financial mismanagement and misappropriation,” a statement from an ISTA spokeswoman said at the time.

ISTA’s investigation discovered that Cornett had used her IEA debit card to withdraw about $100,000 in cash for personal use, spokeswoman Kim Clements-Johnson said. She said there were also additional debit card transactions that could not be accounted for, but she declined to elaborate on the amount of those expenses. The money in question was not been recovered, Clements-Johnson said in November.

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