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updated: 10/7/2017 10:29 AM

Chicago pastor, wife sentenced in state food program fraud

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- A Chicago Christian church pastor will serve more than three years in federal prison for defrauding a summer food program for impoverished children.

The U.S. attorney for the Central District of Illinois reported that U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough sentenced 50-year-old Robbie Wilkerson on Friday to 37 months.

Wilkerson was also ordered to pay $441,000 in restitution. His wife, 45-year-old Tasha Wilkerson, was sentenced to 12 months in the scheme.

Wilkerson's New Birth Christian Center was a large recipient of federal funds from 2008-10 for the Summer Food Service program.

Robbie Wilkerson admitted in court that he submitted $714,000 in fraudulent claims for 267,000 meals. Fewer than 100,000 were served.

Three other co-defendants were sentenced last month to prison, home confinement or parole.

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