Prosecutors have charged a five-time felon with using forged employment records to secure permission to move around Chicago while he was on electronic monitoring for a manufacture-delivery of heroin case in 2019. The charges are the first leveled against someone accused of benefiting from a forgery mill run by a now-fired City Colleges of Chicago basketball coach.
The college system fired the coach, Edmond Pryor, 42, in 2019 for allegedly using his work computer to create fake receipts for reimbursement and false university transcripts, among other things. However, the investigation into that matter allegedly turned up other “suspicious documents” on the computer hard drive, including false employment records and phone and fax numbers that investigators linked to Pryor and “several individuals” on the Cook County Sheriff’s Office electronic monitoring (EM) program.
Pryor was charged with forgery earlier this month. The sheriff’s office said that his fakes included employment verification letters, paychecks, and other documents purporting to be from UPS, Amazon, and other companies. He also “created a phone system that he used to verify the fictitious employment by posing as the employer.”
Investigators also found forged documents for vehicle financing that were used to buy six vehicles, bogus auto insurance cards, and fake community service completion forms, according to the sheriff’s office.
Prosecutors have approved forgery charges against five people who won EM movement based on forged documents provided by Pryor, and investigators are in the process of rounding them all up, according to a sheriff’s office statement.
They didn’t have to look far to find Desmond White, the first of Pryor’s alleged customers to be charged. He was already sitting in Cook County jail on fresh charges of armed habitual criminal and possession of a machine gun by a felon. White, 30, was being held without bail after initially being released on electronic monitoring in March, but he was locked back up a few weeks later after he allegedly spent hour after hour traveling around the city while he was supposed to be on house arrest, records show.
An UPS oops
On Sunday, prosecutor James Costello said White submitted documentation to the sheriff’s office in February 2019 so he could get permission to travel around the city while working as a delivery driver for UPS. But investigators looking into Pryor’s alleged forgery operation learned from UPS that White never worked for them, the documents he provided were not genuine, and contact information on the paperwork was not associated with the company.
Phone records show that White “almost immediately” contacted Pryor anytime White had a conversation with the sheriff’s EM staff, Costello alleged.
White is now charged with felony forgery. In addition to the 2018 narcotics case, he was convicted of a federal narcotics charge in 2019 and state felony drug charges in 2011, 2013, and 2015, Costello said.
Judge Kelly McCarthy ordered White to pay a $3,000 bail deposit to get out of jail on the felony case. But he is still being held without bail on that machine gun case.
The phony UPS job apparently didn’t give White as much freedom as he needed. Court records show prosecutors charged him with escaping from electronic monitoring in March 2019, but they agreed to drop the charges five months later.
From Streeterville to Naperville
During a traffic stop on March 5, 2022, Chicago police allegedly found a loaded handgun with an extended magazine and automatic fire modifications lying on the driver’s side floorboard of a car White was driving.
Prosecutors charged him with Class X armed habitual criminal and unlawful use of a machine gun by a felon, according to court records. Judge McCarthy, the same judge who saw him on Sunday, ordered him to pay a $4,000 bail deposit to go home on electronic monitoring.
White’s girlfriend posted the money on March 8, and he was equipped with an ankle monitor. But, less than a month later, on April 1, Judge Edward Maloney loosened White’s EM restrictions so he could travel to work at a jewelry store near Midway Airport and take his daughter to school.
Three days later, White’s ex-girlfriend filed a police report against him for allegedly assaulting her in her apartment building, which is about three miles from where White was supposed to be on house arrest, according to court records. She filed a second report after he allegedly broke her car window with a rock and told investigators White was “possibly putting aluminum foil on his GPS device, trying to hinder his GPS signal,” the records said.
Sheriff’s office investigators arrested White on April 7 based on the domestic complaints. Upon reviewing his EM records, investigators determined that his ankle monitor GPS signal “appeared to be hindered” on April 2, 3, and 6.
On April 2, the ankle monitor showed him traveling to Forest Park, Austin, West Garfield Park, and Streeterville before returning home. Then, he left at 9 p.m. and traveled to West Garfield Park and the South Loop before ending his day back home around 2:15 a.m., said the sheriff’s records, which noted he never went to work.
The next day, White was out of the house for about 12 hours, according to sheriff’s office records. Starting around 3 p.m., he allegedly went to Kenwood, the Near West Side, Garfield Park, and South Austin. The sheriff’s report said he was not scheduled to work that day.
The day after that, he spent five hours at various locations around the city and never went to work, according to GPS. And the day after that, he was gone from 9:41 a.m. until 11:50 p.m., as his ankle monitor allegedly pinged in South Austin, Garfield Park, and Kenwood—but never at work.
And on April 6, he was gone from 12:30 p.m. until 4:22 a.m. the next day, according to sheriff’s office data. His travels took him from South Austin to Greektown to Naperville that day, according to GPS data filed with the court. The sheriff’s office arrested him later that day, and Judge Michael McHale, who is overseeing the gun case, held him without bail.
Under new laws enacted by Illinois legislators last year, EM participants cannot be charged with escape unless they are away from their homes without authorization for at least 48 hours.
More to come
In a statement, the sheriff’s office said its EM program now has GPS capabilities that were not in place at the time of Pryor’s alleged fraud scheme.
“The office continues to aggressively investigate instances of fraud and seeks criminal charges in all appropriate cases,” the office said in a statement.