Shauntelle Pridgeon was supposed to approve daycare providers for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), but instead, she allegedly used her role as manager to steal at least $1.6m and use that money to gamble. Her scheme was uncovered last summer and she was charged with fraud earlier this month, but it wasn’t until this week that Pridgeon was arrested and the charges were unsealed.
Pridgeon worked as a social service community planner for DCFS starting in 2015 and began her alleged scam the following year. The DCFS paid daycare providers for their services to children that were under the department’s care, but according to the Chicago Sun-Times, federal authorities allege that “at least 15 child care providers paid at least $1.6 million into a private bank account controlled by Pridgeon and her spouse.”
Pridgeon netted $2.2m in gambling losses from January 2015 through November 2022
She then used that money to gamble, primarily on slot machines. Records show that Pridgeon netted $2.2m in gambling losses from January 2015 through November 2022.
Pridgeon was ultimately found out when a supervisor discovered that a childcare provider that she approved had received $280,000 from the state, despite not having actually taken care of any children. The supervisor asked Pridgeon for her files on the provider, but she didn’t have them. Another employee got the files for the supervisor, but Pridgeon took them from that employee and later threw them in the garbage.
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