Another prominent Chicago resident’s child has been indicted. Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s daughter Jeri Wright indicted Wednesday on charges of money laundering and lying to the feds.
Jeri Wright is accused of participating in a fraud scheme allegedly orchestrated by former Country Club Hills Police Chief Regina Evans and her husband, Ronald Evans, involving a $1.25 million state grant, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Jeri Wright, 47, was charged with two counts of money laundering, two counts of making false statements to federal law enforcement officers and seven counts of giving false testimony before a grand jury.
The state grant was awarded in 2009 and was meant to train trades people. But that never materialized. A third indictment claims Regina Evans’ brother, Ricky McCoy, of Chicago, was charged with obstruction of justice and witness tampering.
Here is an excerpt from the press release from U.S. Attorney James A. Lewis, Springfield, IL:
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Three indictments returned today by the grand jury in Springfield, Ill., collectively broaden allegations of fraud related to a $1.25 million state grant awarded in 2009 to We Are Our Brother’s Keeper, a not-for-profit program owned by Regina R. Evans, former police chief for Country Club Hills, Ill., and her husband, Ronald W. Evans, Jr., also formerly employed with the Country Club Hills Police Department.
The grant agreement provided for an estimated 40 participants to receive bricklaying and electrical pre-apprenticeship training and GED preparation, at the Regal Theater, another entity owned by the Evanses.
Regina, 50, and her husband, Ronald Evans, 45, are charged in a third superseding indictment with fraudulent use of grant funds, specifically
- wire fraud (three counts)
- money laundering (seven counts each)
- conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering (one count)
According to the indictment, at the time of the alleged fraud, from February 2009 to June 2010, Regina and Ronald Evans owned various for-profit and not-for-profit entities, including the
- Prime Time Group, Inc.,
- the Regal Theater, LLC., and
- We Are Our Brother’s Keeper (WAOBK.)
In February 2009, on behalf of WAOBK, Evans and her husband applied for grant funding offered under the Employment Opportunities Grant Program and administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO.) In September 2009,
DCEO disbursed the $1,250,000 award for the two-year period, beginning on June 1, 2009, and ending on May 31, 2011. In fact, the indictment alleges that little, if any, of the training provided in the grant agreement, was ever completed.
Following the return of a prior superseding indictment against the Evanses, in June 2012, the grand jury investigation continued relating to unindicted offenses and persons, including potential money laundering offenses.
The investigation included a review of more than$100,000 in checks issued by the Evanses and Ricky McCoy, Regina Evans’ brother, involving grant funds and made payable to various associates of the Evanses, including McCoy and Jeri L. Wright, purportedly for work done by associates under the grant program.
The indictment alleges that more than $60,000 from the proceeds of the checks was deposited back into accounts which the Evanses controlled.
Another indictment returned today charges Jeri L. Wright, 47, of Hazel Crest, Ill., with money laundering (two counts), making false statements to federal law enforcement officers (two counts), and giving false testimony before a grand jury (seven counts), related to the investigation of the alleged fraudulent use of grant funds.
According to the indictment, Wright, a close friend and associate of the Evanses, allegedly received three checks in November 2009, totaling approximately $28,000, purporting to be for work related to the grant, and approximately $20,000 of the proceeds of the checks was allegedly deposited back into accounts controlled by the Evanses.
The indictment further alleges that Wright made false statements to federal law enforcement officers when she was interviewed on various occasions in 2012, and that on Nov. 7, 2012, Wright made materially false statements to the grand jury.
The penalties are pretty stiff if Jeri Wright and others are convicted. For example, wire fraud carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison; money laundering carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison; obstruction of justice carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison; witness tampering carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.