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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rev. Wright's Daughter Indicted for Money Laundering and Making False Statements

Jeri L. Wright

And it involves government grants. Shocking, I know.

From the SouthtownStar article by Dave McKinney and Casey Toner (h/t Instapundit):

The daughter of President Barack Obama’s former pastor was indicted Wednesday on charges of money laundering and lying to federal investigators in an expanding 2009 state grant-fraud case 
Jeri L. Wright, daughter of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was accused of participating in a fraud scheme allegedly orchestrated by former Country Club Hills Police Chief Regina Evans and her husband involving a $1.25 million state job-training grant geared toward minorities.
Jeri Wright, 47, of Hazel Crest, 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.
A federal grand jury handed down the multi-pronged indictments Wednesday that accused Jeri Wright of engaging in a series of bank transactions in November 2009 in which she cashed more than $27,800 in checks drawn from the bank account of a non-profit the Evans controlled and from which the state funds had been deposited.
The indictment described Jeri Wright as a “close friend and associate” of Evans and her husband, Ronald W. Evans, Jr.
With that cash in hand, Jeri Wright then allegedly deposited $19,888 of that total into the personal bank account belonging to Evans and her husband, “knowing that the property involved in the financial transaction represented the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity,” the indictment alleged.
When interviewed by federal investigators in August and October of 2012 and again before a federal grand jury, Jeri Wright “did knowingly make false statements” about where those state funds eventually wound up, the indictment alleged.
Rather than depositing the money into the Evans’ personal bank account, Jeri Wright claimed the funds represented several months of salary she was owed from working for the Evans’ state-funded non-profit, We Are Our Brother’s Keeper, and that those dollars were used to pay her mortgage and car loan, the indictment alleged.
“I wasn’t giving any money back to Regina,” Jeri Wright told the grand jury in a transcript that was part of the indictment. “I worked.”
But a federal prosecutor pressed her on whether she reported the money on her taxes, which she denied doing.
“I’m still waiting for the 1099,” Jeri Wright said.
“You don’t have to have a 1099 to report it,” the prosecutor countered.
“Well, I know that now,” she responded on the grand jury transcript that was part of Wednesday’s indictment.
In an earlier interview with the SouthtownStar, Jeri Wright described herself as “close to Regina Evans as a blood relative” and said her work for Evans’ non-profit involved setting up field trips to construction sites and bringing in speakers.
She denied any knowledge of the group’s finances.
Jeri Wright’s indictment was part of three indictments returned Wednesday by the grand jury that has been investigating the Evans for allegedly skimming off more than half of the $1.25 million in state grant funds that were to have been used as part of the rehab of the Regal Theater on the South Side.
The Evans were hit with a superseding indictment alleging three counts of wire fraud, seven counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering.
The third indictment accused Regina Evans and her brother, Rickey McCoy, 52, of Chicago — who was the executive director of We Are Our Brother’s Keeper — of obstructing justice, witness tampering and conspiracy. Additionally, McCoy faces three new counts of money laundering.
The indictment alleged on Nov. 12, 2009, McCoy cashed a check worth $16,249 drawn from the non-profit’s bank account and deposited that money into the personal bank account controlled by his sister and her husband.
Evans and her husband were first charged in 2012 by federal prosecutors in Springfield and accused of misappropriating more than half of the $1.25 million in state grant money between February 2009 and June 2010.
The couple had political clout.
State Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) helped them obtain the grant money and in March 2010 urged the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity not to yank their grant funds because of questionable spending.
Trotter, who in his letter described the Evans’ non-profit as a “community necessity,” denied knowledge of any wrongdoing on the Evans’ part when he wrote the letter trying to defend their state grant money.
Despite their indictment, Trotter last year called Evans and her husband as “decent people.” The senator has not been accused of wrongdoing.
Ah, well... Some people with political clout in Chicago pocketing government funds. Who knew such things happened in The Windy City?

You know, when there are billions (and now proposed trillions) of dollars thrown about in programs and grants, who's going to miss a few hundred thousand skimmed off the top? It's just shrinkage. Right?

Am I wrong, or is this becoming a more prevailing attitude?

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