CHICAGO (CBS) — A south suburban man who took bribes from food service workers to skip Illinois Department of Health training and testing has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Ernest Griffin, 71, of Lynwood pleaded guilty last year to one count of federal program bribery, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The state of Illinois and city of Chicago require food service establishments have a person on site at all times who holds an Illinois Food Service Sanitation Manager Certificate. In order to obtain the certificate, the IDPH requires individuals take a 15-hour course on food-borne illnesses, personal hygiene, food safety, pest control, proper cleaning and sanitizing procedures, and the prevention of food contamination. They must then pass an exam.

Griffin was authorized by the IDPH to teach the course and administer the exam. But in exchange for a $175 bribe, he submitted false certifications and test results to the IDPH to make it appear the bribe payer had completed the course, passed the exam, and was entitled to the certification, according to federal prosecutors.

The scheme lasted from 2008 until January 2015, when he was confronted by FBI agents.

U.S. District Judge Manish Shah handed down the 18-month sentence Wednesday. Griffin was also fined $5,000.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2016. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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