- (Photo: AP Images / Paul Sancya)
The daughter of controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright was indicted on federal charges that include money laundering, perjury and fraud, a United States Justice Department spokeswoman said.
Jeri L. Wright, 47, was charged Wednesday with having allegedly participated in a fraud scheme that was run by a longtime friend and former Country Club Hills police chief Regina Evans.
The scheme involved a not-for-profit that was created by Evans and her husband and revolved around a $1.25 million state grant, according to the U.S. Attorney's office for the Central District of Illinois in Springfield.
Wright, who lives in the Chicago suburb of Hazel Crest, was charged with two counts of money laundering, two counts of making false statements to federal officers, and seven counts of giving false testimony to a grand jury.
The non-profit that Evans ran was called We Are Our Brother's Keeper and was created to help inner-city youths.
But, according to the indictment, Wright was sent three checks in 2009 worth about $28,000 that were supposed to be used in connection with the state's grant to for the non-profit, but never were.
Prosecutors allege that around $20,000 of that money was deposited back into accounts controlled by the Evanses.
But Wright denies having any knowledge of the inner workings of the Evanses' finances or motives.
"I didn't know anything about the inner workings of how she received the money, nothing about the grant money, nothing at all," Wright told The Chicago Sun Times.
"I don't want to add any stress to her life … I'm praying that her family's health stays intact as all of this is unfolding," Wright added.
Wright faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years for the money laundering charge, while the other charges each carry penalties of up to five years in prison.
Jeremiah Wright was the Chicago pastor whose controversial sermons became known during the 2008 presidential campaign.