Chicago Husband and Wife Sentenced to Prison Terms for Misappropriation of $3 Million in Grant Funds

Thursday, December 17, 2015
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

A husband and wife from Chicago, Illinois, were sentenced to prison terms by U.S. District Judge Richard Mills on Monday, December 14, 2015, for their roles in the misappropriation of $3 million in grant funds.  Leon Dingle Jr. and his wife, Karen Dingle, were convicted at a one-week long jury trial in December 2014 of conspiracy, mail fraud and money laundering.  To read the full press release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the convictions, click here.   

Mr. Dingle sought a two-year prison term but instead was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay $2.9 million in restitution.  Mrs. Dingle was sentenced to three years in prison for her contribution to the conspiracy and fraud.  To read the full press release issued by the DOJ regarding the sentencing, click here


The Scheme that Landed the Dynamic Duo Behind Bars.


Between 2004 and 2010, the Dingles (along with alleged co-conspirators) utilized several nonprofits owned and operated by the couple and their associates as straw grantees to fraudulently obtain $11 million in state grant funds disbursed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.  Many of the grants were noncompetitively awarded and paid up-front.  Such grants were to be used for educational programs related to breast, cervical and prostate cancer, HIV and Aids awareness and emergency preparedness.  

Former Illinois Department of Health Chief of Staff Quinshaunta Golden, previously pled guilty to her involvement in the scheme including bribery, theft of federal funds and obstruction of justice.  Golden was sentenced to eight years in prison.  

Evidence presented by the government at trial showed that of the $11 million in funding, approximately $3 million was diverted from its intended purpose and directly pocketed by the Dingles.  This money was not used for educational programs, but rather it assisted the Dingles in supporting quite the lavish lifestyle of luxury cars, yacht club memberships and vacation homes.

During the same time period in which the scheme was carried out, the Dingles also owned and operated a for-profit corporation known as Advance Health, Social and Educational Associates Inc. (AHSEA).  Former bookkeeper and vice-president of operations of AHSEA, Jacquelyn Kilpatrick, previously entered a guilty plea for one count of mail fraud and also the filing of a false income tax return.  Prosecutors reported that roughly $1.4 million in income (mostly from grant monies) was not accounted for by the Dingles on federal and state tax returns. 

To read the full indictment, click here


Judge Mills Said the Crime Was "Baffling."


Judge Mills was somewhat shocked by the case due to the couple's existing wealth and high standing within the community.  He acknowledged that, "A lighter sentence [for the aged couple of power and influence] might suggest that this kind of fraud is not taken seriously."  Judge Mills attributed their motive to pure greed.  

The case becomes even more interesting and convoluted with its dramatic and high profile twists and turns as reported by the Chicago Tribune.  Mr. Dingle fears for his wife as a German citizen to remain in the United States, while another defendants and a witness are said to maintain political ties leading all the way up to the White House.  

To read the full story as reported by the Chicago Tribune, click here


Comments?


Are you currently involved in, or do you currently possess direct personal knowledge of, a possible fraud scheme involving state or federal grant funds?


Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Qui Tam or Whistleblower Cases.


Attorneys with The Health Law Firm also represent health care professionals and health facilities in qui tam or whistleblower cases both in defending such claims and in bringing such claims. We have developed relationships with recognized experts in health care accounting, health care financing, utilization review, medical review, filling, coding, and other services that assist us in such matters. We have represented doctors, nurses and others as relators in bringing qui tam or whistleblower cases, as well.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.


Sources:


Garcia, Monique.  "'Ringmaster' in State Grant Scam Gets 6-Year Sentence."  Chicago Tribune: 15 Dec. 2015.  Web.  15 Dec. 2015.  

Novak Jones, Diana.  "Ill. Couple Get Prison Time For $3M State Grant Scam."  Law360.  Portfolio Media Inc.: 15 Dec. 2015.  Web.  15 Dec. 2015.

U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of Illinois.  "Jury Convicts Chicago Couple On All Counts Charged in Multi-million Dollar State Grant Fraud Scheme."  Press Release.  U.S. Department of Justice: 17 Dec. 2014.  Web.  16 Dec. 2015.  

U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of Illinois.  "Chicago Couple Sentenced for Multi-Million Dollar State Grant Fraud Scheme."  Press Release.  U.S. Department of Justice: 14 Dec. 2015.  Web.  16 Dec. 2015. 


About the Author:
George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.



Keywords:
State grant funds, False Claims Act attorney, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), fraud detection, health law attorney, defense attorney, The Health Law Firm, health law firm, fraud investigations, qui tam attorney, DOJ settlement lawyer, federal grant money, qui tam lawyer, whistleblower attorney, FCA settlement, health care professional legal representation, submitting false claims, conspiracy to defraud the government, money laundering, nonprofit grant funds



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12/17/2015

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