Former CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennet pleads guilty in alleged bribery, kickbacks scheme

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CHICAGO -- The former head of the nation's 3rd largest school district has pleaded guilty to charges in an alleged scheme to steer $23 million in no-bid contracts to education firms for $2.3 million in bribes and kickbacks.

Barbara Byrd-Bennett entered her guilty plea Tuesday in federal court.

Her attorney said just hours after the former Chicago Public Schools CEO was indicted on Oct. 8 that she would plead guilty as part of a deal with prosecutors. She was never arrested.

The 66-year-old faced 20 fraud counts, each with a maximum 20-year prison term. But under the plea agreement, she pleaded guilty to one fraud count. All others will be dismissed.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel hired Byrd-Bennett as CEO in 2012. She resigned earlier this year.

Two education company executives were also indicted.