SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (STMW) — Former Country Club Hills Police Chief Regina Evans pleaded guilty Monday to fraud and money laundering charges related to the misuse of a $1.25 million state grant to a non-profit organization she ran with her husband, Ronald Evans Jr.
Evans, 50, appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Sue Myerscough in Springfield, where she entered guilty pleas to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, three counts of wire fraud and seven counts of money laundering. Her sentencing is set for Oct. 15.
A status hearing for Ronald Evans, 46, Country Club Hills’ former inspector general, is set for Tuesday at the same courthouse. His trial on similar charges is scheduled to begin July 9.
Regina Evans, who was chief from 2009 to 2011, admitted that she used almost half of the state grant to pay off personal debt, including the mortgage on the Regal Theater building in Chicago, and as gifts to friends and family. The grant money, which the Evanses’ nonprofit received in September 2009, was to be used solely for job training and education for people who would be hired to restore the Regal Theater.
Her attorney has said Evans plans to plead guilty at a later date to charges of filing false federal income tax returns for 2007 through 2009. She and her husband also were charged last week with tax evasion for failing to report all their income during those years.
On Monday, Regina Evans admitted that the $1.25 million was deposited into six separate accounts at the same bank — including $500,000 that was converted for personal use by Evans, her family members, friends, associates and some of the couple’s businesses.
In a related case, a trial is set to begin Sept. 3 for Regina Evans and her brother, Ricky McCoy, a former Country Club Hills information technology worker.
Evans and McCoy, 52, of Chicago, are charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and witness tampering related to the case in which she has pleaded guilty. In addition, McCoy is charged with three counts of money laundering.
McCoy was executive director of the Evanses’ nonprofit, We Are Our Brother’s Keeper, and the indictment alleges that on Nov. 12, 2009, a $16,249 check was issued to McCoy, cashed and deposited into a bank account controlled by the Evanses.
Also, a Sept. 10 trial is scheduled for Jeri L. Wright, 47, of Hazel Crest, in federal court in Springfield. Wright, the daughter of President Barack Obama’s controversial former pastor Jeremiah Wright, is charged with money laundering, making false statements to federal agents and giving false testimony before a grand jury.
Wright allegedly received three checks in November 2009, totaling about $28,000, purportedly for work related to the state grant. But about $20,000 of that amount was deposited back into accounts controlled by the Evanses, according to the indictment.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)