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Two businessmen convicted of setting up phony minority-owned company

Updated: April 4, 2013 11:28PM

A pair of white businessmen who set-up a phony black-owned company to bag contracts worth $8 million under Chicago’s much abused minority-owned procurement program were both convicted Thursday of fraud.

Matthew Giovenco, 43, of Graysake, and Guy Potter, 66, of Versailles, Ky., hired a black student, Jerone Mayes, and his mom, Cherrone Mayes, to act as fronts for their business, ICS Cable, evidence during a week-long jury trial showed.

ICS used the phony front to secure subcontracts from RCN Cable, which under the terms of its franchise from the City of Chicago, was required to give business to women or minority owned contractors.

Giovenco and Potter both tried to pin the blame on Cherrone Mayes, alleging she masterminded the scheme before cooperating with the government to save herself.

But prosecutor Tinos Diamantatos ridiculed those claims. Mayes made only $17,000 from the scam, while Potter made $1.3 million and Giovenco made $800,000, he said.

Both men face up to 20 years behind bars.

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