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2 Chicago nurses sentenced in state grant-fraud scheme

Updated: October 17, 2013 6:50PM

Two Chicago nurses who pleaded guilty in a fraud scheme involving state grants have been sentenced to prison and are due to surrender early next year, federal prosecutors in Springfield said Thursday.

The scheme involving Margaret A. Davis, 62, former director of the Chicago Chapter of the National Black Nurses Association, and Tonja Cook, 46, the organization’s treasurer, cost taxpayers of hundreds of thousands of dollars between 2005 and 2009, according to prosecutors. They said the money was supposed to have been spent on health-care and nurse-training programs but instead went for Davis’ “personal use,” including mortgage and credit-card payments.

Cook told investigators “thousands of dollars” in grant money under Davis’ control went to pay campaign workers for former state Sen. Rickey Hendon (D-Chicago), who helped Davis win a $460,000 government grant in 2006, records show. Hendon, who could not be reached Thursday for comment, hasn’t been charged with any wrongdoing.

U.S. District Judge Sue E. Myerscough sentenced Davis on Oct. 8 to three years and five months in prison for mail fraud and money laundering and ordered Davis to pay $377,573 in restitution. Cook was sentenced Tuesday to one year and seven months in prison for mail fraud and ordered to repay $137,111 to the government.

Both women are to report to prison on Jan. 2.


Twitter: @FuscoChris

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