Antoinette Chenier, a clerk for the Chicago Department of Transportation, has been charged with embezzlement after allegedly stealing more than $741,000 in permit fee money. Authorities arrested Chenier on Wednesday and she made her initial court appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Shiela Finnigan that afternoon. Judge Finnigan allowed Chenier to remain free without posting bond.
Chenier, 50, has been a clerk in the city transportation department’s permitting office since 1990 and is involved with the processing of moving van and dumpster permit fees. According to the affidavit filed with the complaint, Chenier opened a personal bank account in August 2008 and a business account at the same bank in March of 2009 under the name OEMC Chenier. She allegedly “deposited several hundred checks” between 2008 and January 2014 written by companies to pay their fees. Federal investigators report that $59,667 was deposited into her personal account and $681,632 into the “OEMC Chenier” account.
Bank officials froze both accounts earlier in the year after noticing what they considered to be “unusual banking activity”. When questioned by a bank employee in January, Chenier reportedly asked the teller “not to report this,” court documents state. “Please don’t call the check makers, I will lose my job,” Chenier allegedly told the bank employee.
Embezzlement charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and fines up to $250,000. Chenier is scheduled to appear in court again on April 15th for a status hearing.