Chicago businessman gets 2 years for state grant fraud

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A Chicago businessman has been ordered to serve two years in prison and repay more than $480,000 to the state for a fraud scheme in which two state agencies awarded separate but nearly identical grants to his nonprofit.

Federal prosecutors say U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough sentenced 66-year-old George E. Smith on Friday. He pleaded guilty in March to two counts of mail fraud and one count of money laundering.

They say Smith won a $450,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services on Sept. 2, 2008. Six days later, the Illinois Board of Education awarded Smith’s nonprofit a $342,000 grant for similar services to the same at-risk population in the Chicago area. The agencies were unaware of each other’s grant.