Thursday, February 26, 2015

Daughter of former Obama pastor sent to jail after new allegations surface

Daughter of former Obama pastor sent to jail after new allegations surface
By Chicago Tribune February 24, 2015 12:25 pm
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The daughter of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the former pastor of President Barack Obama, was sent to jail Monday by a federal judge who revoked her bond in a money laundering case.
Jeri Wright, 49, of Hazel Crest, was convicted last March of 11 corruption counts, including money laundering and lying to a grand jury, in a case tied to a state grant. Her father, a lightning rod in Obama's 2008 campaign, was not involved in the case.
Federal prosecutors on Monday argued that her bond should be revoked, alleging she had participated in a ghost payrolling scheme at a private company in Indiana after her money laundering conviction. She has not been charged based on the ghost payrolling allegations, but the judge ruled there was probable cause for such a case in Indiana.
U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough rejected the argument by Wright's attorney that she had performed the work for the Indiana company and ordered her taken into custody.
Wright removed her earrings, handed them to her attorney and left the courtroom in handcuffs.
Her sentencing in the money laundering case was moved up to March 20. It had been set for April 3. In that case, she was accused of taking as much as $11,000 as part of a scam involving Regina Evans, the former Country Club Hills police chief, who was sentenced to five years in prison. Evans had acquired a $1.25 million state grant secured in part to train people in bricklaying and electrical skills, but she went on a spending spree.
Since Wright's conviction, she received $8,192 under the auspices of working at Berry Plastics in Franklin, Ind., prosecutors said. But Wright and others, including a former plant manager, were involved in a scheme in which she got paid as a temporary worker but actually didn't do anything, prosecutors said.
On Monday, Wright offered some emails containing sparse information in an attempt to buttress her position that she did do work, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Bass quickly poked holes in the argument. That included quizzing a company comptroller, who testified on Friday and Monday that Wright wasn't a legitimate employee and was not seen at the small plant.
Bass said the Indiana allegations were similar to the money laundering case.
"She received the money, and she spent it," Bass said.
Wright's attorney, Victor Henderson, asked the judge to consider putting Wright on house arrest until she is sentenced in the money laundering case. Myerscough said she wanted to avoid revoking the bond, but she ruled Wright should be locked up. The judge said she would reconsider if evidence surfaced that showed Wright actually had done any work for the Indiana firm.

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