SPRINGFIELD —A former high-ranking state public health official facing federal bribery, theft and tax evasion charges pleaded guilty Tuesday for her role in a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme and pledged to offer her cooperation to federal prosecutors.
Roxanne Jackson, 49, of Olympia Fields, agreed to the plea deal after a federal court hearing in Springfield on Tuesday. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 26, 2015.
Jackson, the former chief human resources official under the state Department of Public Health, pleaded guilty to filing false tax returns and toparticipating in a kickback scheme with the agency’s onetime former chief of staff, Quinshaunta Golden, who is awaiting sentencing Oct. 31, and South Side businessman Leon DingleJr.
Golden — once a top aide to former state Public Health Director Eric Whitaker, a personal friend of President Barack Obama — pleaded guilty in April to bribery and accepting kickbacks as part of a broader scheme that steered millions of dollars in state grants and contracts to Dingle and several not-for-profits he ran. Dingle is awaiting trial next month on federal charges of fraud, money-laundering and tax evasion.
Part of Golden’s alleged scheme involved getting kickbacks from a security company that employed Jackson, who worked under both Whitaker and Golden as human resources director for the health department in 2003 and 2004.
Jackson then left that job and became “director of legal services” for V.I.P. Security & Detective Services, which got about $2 million in health department money starting in 2006 to do criminal-background checks on nursing home residents under a new state law. V.I.P. was paid $300 per background check, with Jackson agreeing to pay Golden between $35 and $40 in kickbacks per investigation, according to Monday’s court filing.
Golden helped arrange Dingle to hire Jackson as a consultant and further directed $772,500 in state grant dollars, originally earmarked for Dingle’s not-for-profits, to go to Jackson instead — with the understanding that she return one-half of whatever grant funds she received to Golden, according to Jackson’s indictment.
The tax-evasion charge against Jackson alleges that she failed to report nearly $908,266 in income between 2006 and 2009 and failed to pay $172,825 in taxes she owed as a result of those taintedearnings.