UIC Elevator Foreman Faces Federal Bribery Charges

May 04, 2018 - 7:22 am
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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- An elevator foreman at the University of Illinois at Chicago was indicted on federal bribery charges for allegedly taking hundreds of thousands of dollars to steer the school’s elevator repair work.

James Hernandez, 54, of Tinley Park, was arrested Wednesday and charged with pocketing more than $200,000 in bribes from the owner of a southwest suburban elevator repair company while he worked as an elevator foreman at UIC, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Illinois.

Suzy Tamras-Martin, 68, owner of Willowbrook-based Smart Elevators, was charged with concealing the bribes in checks payable to Hernandez’s daughter, prosecutors said. The payments were recorded as “professional fees” in company records. Tamras-Martin is a resident of west suburban Naperville

Hernandez forged his daughter’s signature and deposited the checks into a bank account he controlled, the attorney’s office said. The indictment alleges that Tamras-Martin made the payments to influence and reward Hernandez for referring her company for elevator repair work.

UIC paid Smart Elevators more than $5 million from 2011 to 2015, prosecutors said. The bribes to Hernandez started in April 2013 and and continued until at least Aug. 2015.

Hernandez pleaded not guilty Wednesday and was released on bond, prosecutors said. Tamras-Martin’s arraignment has not been scheduled.

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