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For Immediate Release
Chicago, May 13, 2004

Chicago Sun-Times
By FRANK MAIN Crime Reporter
e-mail: fmain@suntimes.com

Harvey Schools Chief Gets Jail Term for Fraud

A south suburban school president and her son were sentenced Wednesday to 180 days in jail for defrauding a college financial aid program.

Janet Thomas, president of Harvey District 152 and a Bloom Township High School teacher, also was ordered to pay a $7,000 fine and repay $10,525 she obtained for her son in fraudulent school grants. Her son, Derrick Fomby, must pay a $3,000 fine and help repay the grants.

Stephenson County Judge Charles Hartman ordered the mother and son to report to jail May 24. They were convicted March 10. Thomas was convicted of falsifying her income to help her son obtain grants to attend Highland Community College in Freeport from 1998 to 2001. She was earning $80,000 a year and receiving money from 10 rental properties.

Fomby admitted on the stand during his mother's trial he used some of the grant money to buy personal items such as gym shoes.

"It is very distressing that an educator stole from funds that are intended to help students whose families did not enjoy the same financial prosperity that she did," said Attorney General Lisa Madigan, whose office prosecuted the case.

Thomas also had worked for Harvey Mayor Eric Kellogg's administration, heading the city's Work Force Investment Act program for about $17,000 a year. Kellogg is an assistant superintendent in Harvey District 152.

Fomby got a job from Kellogg as superintendent of the city's Metra and Pace parking lots for about $33,000 a year. "We will need to terminate their employment," mayoral spokeswoman Sandra Alvarado said.

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Last Modified: 02/28/2005