The former police chief of County Club Hills was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison for diverting $917,000 from a state job-training grant to help remodel her home, travel to Las Vegas and distribute cash to her family and friends.
Regina Evans, 51, tearfully begged U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough to not “take my life away,” before the sentence was handed down. Federal prosecutors had sought a prison sentence of more than 10 years.
After the hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Bass said the investigation that led to Evans conviction and has also taken down former state Rep. Connie Howard, Jeri Wright, the daughter of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and a top state public health official, is ongoing.
“It’s not over,” Bass said.
* More on that last line from the Sun-Times…
Without naming names, [Evans’ lawyer, Lawrence Beaumont] lashed out at the prosecution during the hearing, accusing the government of having a “misguided vendetta” against her. He said she “made telephone calls” and wore a wire on behalf of the government in pursuit of other targets, but she didn’t deliver any prized political pelts sought by prosecutors.
“In my humble opinion, part of the prosecution in this case had some kind of vendetta against her because she refused to cooperate or didn’t cooperate the way they felt she should against some political people in Chicago. They seem to want to take that out on her, which in my opinion is inappropriate,” Beaumont said.
During testimony in her two-day sentencing hearing, U.S. Postal Inspector Basil Demczak indicated the government criminal investigation into grant fraud at the Department of Commerce and Opportunity remains ongoing.
Asked later to clarify those remarks, Bass said, “I can only speak for what’s in the record. Again, what’s in the record is what Inspector Demczak testified to, and that is this case arose from an investigation of DCEO’s employment opportunity grant program that was targeted at helping underrepresented persons, underprivileged minority persons in the Chicago-area community.
“The investigation involved not just looking at Ms. Evans as one grantee but the entire program and whether or not other persons, other grantees, or other public officials had engaged in any wrongdoing. Inspector Demczak testified that investigation is ongoing,” Bass said, declining to name any targets.