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Another suburban official accused of misusing New Regal Theater funds

Ronald W. Evans Jr. former Country Club Hills inspector general.  |  Larry Ruehl~Sun-Times Medifile photo

Ronald W. Evans Jr., former Country Club Hills inspector general. | Larry Ruehl~Sun-Times Media file photo

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Updated: July 8, 2012 6:56PM

SPRINGFIELD — A federal grand jury Wednesday indicted the former inspector general of a south suburban police department with mail fraud and money-laundering charges for his role in the alleged misuse of $1.25 million in state grant funds.

Ronald W. Evans, 45, of Country Club Hills, was named in a three-count federal indictment, accused of the same crimes as his previously indicted wife, Regina Evans, who is the former Country Club Hills police chief.

The couple owned several ventures, including a group that set out to fix up the dilapidated New Regal Theater on the South Side.

A non-profit the couple started, known as We Are Our Brother’s Keeper, secured the $1.25 million Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity grant in February 2009 to help train 40 workers involved in the New Regal Theater project with bricklaying and electrical skills.

But Wednesday’s indictment accused Ronald Evans of misappropriating more than $500,000 of those grant funds, with his wife, who was indicted in April and has entered a plea of not guilty.

Instead of training the minority workers, the couple allegedly used almost half of the grant for the mortgage on the Regal building and payments to their friends, family, associates and to Regina Evans between February 2009 and June 2010, federal investigators alleged.

If convicted of both counts of money laundering and the single count of mail fraud, Ronald Evans could face up to 40 years in prison and fines in excess of $750,000.

Ronald Evans was hired by Country Club Hills to be the inspector general for its police department, which at the time was headed by his wife. His job was eliminated by the village last August, shortly before his wife’s October firing.

Their combined income from the city of about 16,000 exceeded $200,000.

Retirees from the Chicago Police Department, both currently work booking parties at the Dixie Star restaurant in Riverdale, a project owned by a convicted felon who wore a wire in the case of convicted real estate developer Antoin “Tony” Rezko.

In addition to the criminal charges, the couple also face a pending civil lawsuit filed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

The theater building, 1641 E. 79th St., went into foreclosure and was sold at auction in September to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Contributing: Casey Toner, Lauren FitzPatrick

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