Former Executive Director of Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House Indicted for Embezzlement
A federal grand jury for the Southern District of Illinois has returned an indictment charging Christopher K. Coleman, 42, of Troy, Illinois, with embezzlement from the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House, an organization that receives federal funds. The indictment alleges that Coleman embezzled the funds from July 2016 to December 2017, while he was serving as the organization’s executive director. The indictment further alleges that Coleman concealed his crime by creating and using false invoices.
According to the indictment, the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House is a non-profit, faith-based organization in East St. Louis, Illinois, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for residents of all ages by providing quality early childhood development services, comprehensive youth services, individual and family support services, services to older adults, and housing economic development services, which will help move individuals and families out of poverty.
Embezzling money from an organization that receives federal funds carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and restitution. Coleman is scheduled to make his initial appearance at the federal courthouse in East St. Louis, Illinois, on June 25, 2019.
An indictment is merely a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.
The investigation was conducted by the Southern Illinois Public Corruption Task Force, which consists of agents with the FBI, Internal Revenue Service/Criminal Investigation, and the Illinois State Police. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman R. Smith. Citizens are encouraged to report suspicions of public corruption to the Southern Illinois Public Corruption Task Force Tip Line at (618) 589-7373.