A Chicago businessman convicted of pocketing nearly $3 million in state grant funds was sentenced to six years in prison Monday after a federal prosecutor declared that Illinois government corruption “seems to be the norm anymore, rather than the exception.”
U.S. District Judge Richard Mills imposed the sentence — short of the eight years the government requested — on Leon Dingle Jr. for his role in a six-year fraud involving Illinois Department of Public Health funds. He also was ordered to pay $2.9 million in restitution.
After a sentencing hearing lasting more than two hours, Mills ordered Dingle’s wife, Karin, to spend three years in prison for her role in the scheme. Leon Dingle, 78, was convicted last December of 17 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud and money laundering. Karin Dingle, 76, was convicted on six counts. […]
Mills took into consideration 55 letters of support for Leon Dingle, including from U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, a Chicago Democrat and uncle of a co-defendant in the case, and Alphonso Jackson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President George W. Bush. The judge noted that Dingle became wealthy by investing in a cable television company and spent years in health care and doing charitable work.
“Dr. Dingle has done a lot of good in his life,” Mills said. “But this is a very serious offense involving a staggering amount of money that went on for several years. It’s not an aberration or something that occurred once or twice.”