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Ex-leader of IPS teachers union sentenced to prison for embezzlement

Rhondalyn Cornett at a 2017 IPS board meeting.
Rhondalyn Cornett was sentenced to 16 months in prison
Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat

The former head of the Indianapolis Public Schools teachers union was sentenced Monday to 16 months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud, according to a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Rhondalyn Cornett, 55, was also ordered to pay more than $154,000 in restitution to the Indianapolis Education Association and will serve two years of probation.

“Ms. Cornett held a position of public trust and authority over the students and her fellow colleagues at IPS,” said U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said in a statement Tuesday. “She violated that trust and took advantage of her authority to line her pockets with others’ money. She now faces the reality of her greed.”

Cornett led the union for five years before resigning in 2018, when officials began investigating missing funds. As president, she embezzled more than $100,000 by writing checks from the union to herself and using a union debit card to pay personal expenses and make cash withdrawals, according to her plea agreement.

Ron Swann, president of the IPS union, said in a statement that he prays that Cornett’s faith “will redirect her to become a very productive citizen again in the near future.”

Cornett’s attorney could not be reached for comment.

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