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Kankakee Man Sentenced to 2 ½ Years in Prison for Embezzlement, Filing False Tax Returns and Money Laundering

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 2011

Urbana, Ill. – Senior U.S. District Judge Michael P. McCuskey today sentenced Kenneth M. Best, Jr., of Kankakee, Ill., to serve 30 months in federal prison, pay a fine of $250,000, and pay restitution in the amount of $81,129 to the Internal Revenue Service. Best, who operated not-for-profit organizations that served the developmentally disabled, pled guilty in April 2010 to embezzling approximately $667,000, filing false income tax returns and money laundering. Best was ordered to report in June to the Federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his prison sentence.

According to court documents, Kenneth M. Best, Jr., 63 led three separate not-for-profit entities that, as an organization, provided job skills and training for the developmentally disabled. Best controlled the bank accounts for Unipar, United Development Services and United Production Services. As part of its program to provide job skills and training services, the organization received funds from the Illinois Department of Human Services and from the federal Medicaid program.

In court documents, and during a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge David G. Bernthal in April 2010, Best admitted that from 2002 to 2006, he embezzled $667,000 from the organization. Best admitted that he transferred the funds to non-organization bank accounts which he also controlled, and used the funds for his personal benefit. Prior to today’s hearing, Best has paid approximately $417,000 to Unipar; an insurance company for Unipar’s accounting firm has paid approximately $250,000. Best further admitted that he filed false income tax returns for the federal tax years 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006, resulting in failure to pay more than $80,000 in federal income tax.

The charges were investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Bass.

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