CHICAGO — Last summer, prosecutors charged former City Colleges of Chicago basketball coach Edmond Pryor with forging employment records so men on electronic monitoring for felony cases could get permission to travel around the city while wearing ankle monitors.
The story took a couple of twists last week as prosecutors accused a fifth man of benefiting from Pryor’s phony documents and charged one of the previously-accused benefactors with murdering an Uber driver.
Fifth man accused
More than four years ago, prosecutors charged Cleve Jenkins with a felony narcotics allegation, and a judge placed him on electronic monitoring. Those charges were eventually dropped, but not before Jenkins submitted forged documents secured from Pryor to get permission to move around for a job he didn’t really have, Assistant State’s Attorney Jack Costello said Thursday.
Like four other men accused of using Pryor’s paperwork, Jenkins presented the sheriff’s office with employment verification records and pay stubs from Amazon, Costello said.
But investigators allegedly found evidence that the documents were created on Pryor’s computer, and Amazon confirmed the records were fake. Jenkins never worked for Amazon, Costello revealed.
“You’re charged with forgery by providing false documents to the Cook County sheriff to give yourself movement while on electronic monitoring, and, I’ll note, all for a case you were ultimately victorious on,” Judge Charles Beach told Jenkins. “And now you stand here facing prison time over that. We want that to sink in for a minute—how dumb that sounds, right, from your side of the coin.”
Jenkins, a full-time mechanic, lives with his girlfriend and two children, an assistant public defender told Beach. The judge told Jenkins he could go home by posting a $1,000 bail deposit.
About an hour before Jenkins’ bail hearing, another man accused of benefiting from Pryor’s document mill stood before a different judge in a different courtroom on much different charges.
Christopher Haynes used fake Amazon documents so he could leave home for “work” while awaiting trial for being a felon in possession of a firearm in 2019, Costello said as he detailed the allegations last year. Haynes eventually received a four-year sentence. Like Jenkins, Haynes posted a $1,000 bail deposit and went home to await trial on the forgery charge.
On Thursday, prosecutors accused him of committing first-degree murder.
During Haynes’ bail hearing, prosecutor Anne McCord said an Uber driver picked up Haynes’ daughters, ages 16 and 17, on the Near West Side and failed to drop them off at their intended destination. The girls called their mother, Haynes, and 911 to report that they were being kidnapped, McCord said.
The driver eventually stopped his minivan near the 95th Street Red Line and put his hands in the air. The girls got out and waited with family members for the police to arrive. Haynes spoke with the driver through the driver’s side window, McCord continued.
After Haynes’ brother hit the Uber driver with a baton, the driver pulled away, McCord said. Haynes and another man jumped into the passenger seats of a car that sped after him. As the car pulled up next to the minivan, shots were fired from both passenger-side windows, striking the driver and killing him, McCord said.
Although Haynes’ defense attorney argued that there is no direct evidence that Haynes fired any shots, Judge Barbara Dawkins countered that the shooting happened after Haynes’ daughters were safe with family members. If the state’s allegations are true, the judge said, it appears the shooters were “acting in terms of vigilante justice.”
She held Haynes without bail.
City Colleges fired Pryor in 2019 following an unrelated internal investigation. But that investigation uncovered “suspicious documents” on Pryor’s work computer, prompting a separate investigation by the Cook County sheriff’s police, Costello said as he detailed the allegations against Pryor last year.
He said the documents included phone and fax numbers that investigators linked to Pryor and to “several individuals” on the Cook County Sheriff’s Office electronic monitoring program.
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, according to Costello. 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, Pryor allegedly “made lengthy admissions.”