Former Illinois Department Of Public Health Chief Of Staff Charged With Bribery And Taking Kickbacks, Mail Fraud, Obstruction Of Justice
To Date: 13 Defendants Charged in Ongoing State Grant / Contract Fraud Investigation
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – An indictment returned yesterday by a grand jury in Springfield charges Quinshaunta R. Golden, former Chief of Staff for the Illinois Department of Public Health, with bribery and taking kickbacks of approximately $433,000 in grant and contract funds, mail fraud, and obstructing justice in a federal investigation. The indictment alleges that from about July 2007 to October 2008, Golden received kickbacks related to $13 million in grant and contract funds awarded at Golden’s direction to various entities. Further, the indictment alleges that from about February to early April 2012, Golden engaged in conduct to obstruct and impede a grand jury investigation in the Central District of Illinois.
The U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois, Jim Lewis, announced the indictment today, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Bass, who is representing the government in the prosecution, and representatives of the investigative agencies that participate in the U.S. Attorney’s Public Corruption Task Force: Tony Gomez, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Chicago Division; James Lee, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, Chicago Field Office; and Jim Burns, Inspector General, Illinois Secretary of State Office of Inspector General.
Golden is the 13th defendant to be charged, to date, as a result of the ongoing task force investigation of state grant/contract fraud. Charges filed against these 13 defendants collectively allege the misuse of more than $16 million in taxpayers’ money intended to provide a wide range of healthcare, student assistance, and job training programs and services to disadvantaged citizens. These include programs to promote wellness and improve healthcare; to prepare for major health and natural disaster emergencies; to provide healthcare advocacy programs and student job training assistance; to provide skill training and apprenticeships; and to provide statewide HIV prevention plans and HIV/AIDS facilities to assist African Americans. See the attached summary table for the complete list of defendants charged and case status.
According to the indictment, Golden, 44, of Homewood, Ill., served as Chief of Staff at the Ill. Department of Public Health from 2003 to early 2008. In that capacity, Golden had significant control over the agency’s offices and had certain approval authority and control over the awarding of grants and contracts. In 2008, Golden left the Department of Public Health and took a position at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
The indictment alleges that, as part of the scheme, Golden used her position at the Department of Public Health to cause the agency to issue approximately $11 million in grant funds, for programs relating to breast, cervical and prostate cancer, HIV/AIDS, and emergency preparedness, to three not-for-profit organizations: Broadcast Ministers Alliance, Access Wellness and Racial Equity, and the Medical Health Association. These organizations were then controlled by Leon Dingle, Jr., and his for-profit corporation known as Advance Health, Social and Educational Associates, Inc. Dingle, his wife, and two associates were indicted in October 2012; trial is scheduled for December 2013. Further, Golden allegedly caused approximately $2 million in contract funds to be paid by the Department of Public Health to an entity referred to in the indictment as Security Firm A for services related to the Identified Offender Program to conduct background checks and interviews of Illinois nursing home residents.
As part of the scheme, Golden allegedly caused a person, identified as Individual A in the indictment, to be hired as a paid consultant for Leon Dingle, Jr., and the three not-for-profit entities, as well as a paid consultant for Security Firm A. As a result, approximately $772,500 in grant funds, originally disbursed to the three not-for-profit entities, was paid to Individual A during a nine-month period from July 2007 to April 2008, including approximately $407,500 paid to Individual A in April 2008, at the end of Golden’s tenure at the Department of Public Health.
The indictment alleges that Golden required, as a condition of Individual A receiving grant funds, that Individual A pay Golden one-half of whatever Individual A received, less any funds to be withheld for payment of taxes, which were never paid. From about July 2007 to April 2008, Individual A made cash payments to Golden in amounts ranging from $5,000 to as much as $70,000, totaling approximately $323,500.
Under the Identified Offender Program, the indictment alleges that Golden required Individual A to pay Golden approximately $35 to $40 for each background investigation performed by Security Firm A. From 2006 to 2009, Individual A received approximately $485,000 in funds from Security Firm A’s contracts with DPH, and during 2007 and 2008, Individual A allegedly paid Golden approximately $109,500.
In addition to the charges of bribery and taking kickbacks and mail fraud (five counts), the indictment charges Golden with one count of obstruction of justice. Golden allegedly met with Individual A on multiple occasions and falsely denied receiving improper kickback payments from A. Further, the indictment alleges that Golden encouraged and instructed Individual A not to tell the truth concerning the kickback scheme and to conceal the truth from Individual A’s attorney, and to create a false story by saying that Individual A used the grant and contract funds for gambling and other personal expenses.
The indictment includes one count of criminal forfeiture seeking forfeiture of property Golden derived from any proceeds obtained as a result of the alleged offenses, as well as a money judgment in an undetermined amount representing the net proceeds obtained as a result of the alleged offenses.
If convicted, for the offense of bribery and theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, the statutory penalty is up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. For each count of mail fraud (five counts) and for the single count of obstruction of justice, the statutory penalty is up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 as to each count. The defendant may also be ordered to pay restitution to victims of the alleged offenses.
The U.S. Clerk of the Court will issue a summons to Golden for her initial appearance date, scheduled for Aug. 23, 2013, at 11:00 a.m., before U.S. Magistrate Judge Byron G. Cudmore in federal court in Springfield.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; each defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
Individuals who wish to provide information to law enforcement regarding matters of public corruption are urged to call the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 217-492-4450.