A Chicago man presented fake employment verification records to authorities so he could move around the city while on electronic monitoring awaiting trial for being a felon in possession of a firearm, prosecutors said this week.
Christopher Haynes, 34, is the second electronic monitoring participant to face forgery charges for providing fake documents allegedly created by former City Colleges of Chicago basketball coach Edmond Pryor. Prosecutors also charged Pryor with forgery in August for allegedly operating the fake document mill.
Hayne submitted documents to the sheriff’s office in early 2019 that purported to show he had secured a job with Amazon so he could leave his home for “work,” prosecutor Jack Costello said.
Authorities now believe the documents were fakes that Pryor created. Amazon told investigators that Haynes never worked for them, the documents he presented were not in the company’s format, and the contact information on the papers was not associated with the company.
Costello said Haynes had “multiple” conversations with sheriff’s office employees over the course of months about the job at Amazon, which he didn’t really have.
A judge had placed Haynes on electronic monitoring while he awaited trial for being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was later convicted and received a four-year sentence in 2018, Costello said.
Haynes’ previous felony convictions include a 2015 DUI and 2007 convictions for criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse.
Judge Mary Marubio ordered him to post a $1,000 bail deposit to get out of jail.
Pryor, 42, was fired by City Colleges in 2019 following an unrelated internal investigation. However, that investigation uncovered “suspicious documents” on his work computer, prompting a separate investigation by the Cook County sheriff’s police, Costello said during Pryor’s bail hearing this summer.
Pryor faxed false employment records from his computer, Costello said, and two phone numbers linked to Pryor received nearly 100 calls from the number the sheriff’s office uses to verify the employment of EM participants. He also received calls from court representatives and prosecutors during the alleged fraud.
Other documents included forged pay stubs and documents claiming that EM participants worked for UPS and Amazon, according to Costello. Pryor also created fake auto insurance cards that at least four people used to defend themselves against related charges in Cook and DuPage counties, Costello said. He added that the allegedly faked insurance information resulted in some charges being dismissed.
Costello stated that Pryor was compensated for his services, but prosecutors do not know how much he was paid. After being arrested in August, Pryor allegedly “made lengthy admissions,” officials said.
But Pryor maintained his innocence when asked about the charges by a Chicago Tribune reporter.
In a statement after Pryor was charged, the sheriff’s office said, “While investigating Edmond Pryor for forging work documents for individuals seeking movement on electronic monitoring in 2018 and 2019, sheriff’s police identified other individuals who allegedly took part in this scheme. Investigators are working to locate these individuals and bring them into custody. This is an ongoing investigation.”
Days later, prosecutors filed forgery charges against Desmond White, 30, saying he submitted phony UPS employment documentation to the sheriff’s office in February 2019 so he could get permission to travel around the city.
Phone records show that White “almost immediately” contacted Pryor anytime White had a conversation with the sheriff’s EM staff, Costello alleged.
In July, New Mexico State University announced that Pryor had joined its men’s basketball organization as a defensive analyst.
“He is an energy guy and has an excellent feel for people,” head coach Greg Heiar said. “Aggie Nation you are going to really enjoy getting to know EP!”
After the forgery allegations became public in August, the school announced that Pryor was no longer associated with the school.