Ex-Country Club Hills police chief could get 10 years in prison
BY DAVE MCKINNEY Springfield Bureau Chief December 9, 2013 1:30PM
Former Country Club Hills Police Chief Regina Evans. | Sun-Times files
Updated: December 9, 2013 6:06PM
SPRINGFIELD — A federal judge Monday set March 24 as the sentencing date for former Country Club Hills Police Chief Regina Evans, who could face more than 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to state grant fraud, obstruction of justice and witness tampering.
Federal prosecutors are recommending a 121-month sentence and could seek up to $1.2 million in restitution for Evans, who appeared briefly in court Monday, dressed in a red jump suit with her once well-groomed hair looking matted and disheveled.
“Evans not only betrayed the very community she was sworn to protect, she also betrayed the minority, women and hard-to-serve populations she promised the state of Illinois to serve,” U.S. Attorney James Lewis said in a pre-sentencing document that justified the lengthy prison term.
During Monday’s hearing in federal court in Springfield, Evans decided to stick with her defense lawyer, Lawrence Beaumont, after writing a Nov. 30 letter to U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough that asked her to discharge him as the trial enters its sentencing phase.
In the letter, Evans cited poor communications with her lawyer as the basis for what she called her “act of desperation” in seeking his dismissal.
“My attorney does not respond to my communications. I have asked several friends and family members to contact him on my behalf, but he doesn’t respond to them either. This has been an ongoing problem, which I had hoped would correct itself, but it has now deteriorated to this act of desperation,” Evans wrote in the letter.
Beaumont appeared with Evans in court Monday.
During the hearing, Myerscough asked Evans if she was satisfied with her defense lawyer, and the former police chief abruptly shifted course from the allegations put forth in the letter.
“Yes, we took care of it,” Evans answered softly.
Beaumont was joined in court by a new lawyer, Joshua Adams, who will serve as co-counsel during the sentencing phase of Evans’ trial.
Earlier this year, Evans pleaded guilty to a series of federal charges stemming from her misuse of $1.25 million in state grant funds that she administered on behalf of We Are Our Brother’s Keeper, a not-for-profit she owned with her husband, Ronald W. Evans.
The money was to have been used for a job-training program that was part of an effort to restore the historic, dilapidated New Regal Theater on Chicago’s South Side.
But instead, Evans misappropriated more than half of the money to pay the mortgage on the theater building and on payments to friends, family and to her.