Ex-Schneider staffer admits to stealing more than $79,000 in public funds

A former staffer for U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider pleaded guilty to stealing public funds as part of a scheme to fraudulently inflate his salary and bonus payments, the U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday.

Federal authorities say Sterling Carter, 24, of Glenwood, Georgia, paid himself $79,491.67 in unauthorized salary and bonuses while working as the Highland Park Democrat's director of operations. In that position, Carter was responsible for managing the office budget and processing payroll and bonus payments for all office employees, authorities said.

From November 2019 to January 2021, Carter submitted fraudulent paperwork authorizing a higher salary and bonus payments for himself and concealed the theft from Schneider's chief of staff by falsely representing that he was being paid only what he was owed.

Carter was fired Jan. 13, 2021, Schneider's communications director Matt Fried said.

"The office then began working closely with the Department of Justice to uncover and seek justice for funds lost through fraud and abuse of Carter's position as director of operations," Fried said in a prepared statement.

Schneider represents the 10th District, which includes parts of Cook, Lake and McHenry counties.

Carter could face up to 10 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on July 28.

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