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updated: 3/8/2014 1:05 AM

Daughter of ex-Obama pastor guilty in fraud scheme

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- A federal jury on Friday convicted the daughter of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of money laundering and making false statements in connection with the misuse of a grant from the state of Illinois.

Jeri L. Wright of Hazel Crest was accused of participating in a fraud scheme led by former Country Club Hills police chief Regina Evans.

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Prosecutors alleged Wright took about $30,000 in state money, purporting to do work related to the grant's purpose, but deposited most of that money back into bank accounts controlled by Evans. Wright then lied about her involvement to law enforcement and a federal grand jury, prosecutors said.

"Jeri Wright chose to participate in the fraud, chose to receive and launder a portion of the proceeds of the fraud, and chose to repeatedly lie to law enforcement and a federal grand jury," said U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis said in a statement after the verdict. "If you take and misuse government money, and then lie about it, you will be held accountable in a court of law."

Wright is the daughter of the minister whose sermons and later statements sparked controversy during the 2008 presidential campaign.

U.S. District Judge Sue E. Myerscough has scheduled Wright's sentencing for July 7.

Evans pleaded guilty last year to obstruction of justice, conspiracy and witness tampering in misusing the $1.2 million 2009 Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity grant. The money was given to We Are Our Brother's Keeper, a nonprofit program that Evans owned with her husband, Ronald W. Evans, Jr. She is scheduled to be sentenced later this month.

Ronald Evans has also pleaded guilty to the fraud scheme and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 21.

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