Down the Drain
Each year, the government grants are awarded to help support a variety of programs, fund scientific research and studies and promote cultural enrichment. Grants stipulate that the recipients must be good stewards of the funds received and use them for their intended purpose, not to line the pockets of greedy criminals. (I bet you know where I am going with this.) A story published by The Times of Northwest Indiana details the participation of a former state government employee in a $13 million fraud case.
The article states that the former human resources director at the Illinois Department of Health left the agency and went to work for a security company which just happened to receive a $2 million contract to perform background checks on nursing home residents. The security company received $300 for each background check conducted. The former health department employee paid her former chief of staff a kickback between $35 and $40 for each check performed. (There was a lot of back scratching going on there.) According to the story, the former agency boss received approximately $433,000 in illegal compensation.
The 49-year-old health agency human resources director pleaded guilty to bribery, theft and tax evasion. She is facing 51 months in prison and will likely have to pay restitution of $173,000 for filing false income tax returns. She’ll also pay restitution for bribery.
This case is part of a larger scheme that funneled millions of dollars of state grants and contracts to a Chicago businessman, who is awaiting trial for his part in the scheme. (Imagine an enormous amount of taxpayer money being poured down the drain.) Unfortunately, grant fraud is susceptible to fraud just as any other government program. Let’s hope these criminals will receive appropriate punishment for their fraudulent deeds.
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