Investigators say she misused $13-million in federal grant money to help line her own pocket. WCIA-3's Ashley Michels explains.
There are billions of dollars flowing through every part of our state government each year, but a new federal investigation is uncovering what could be one of the biggest kickback schemes in the state's history.
Quinshaunta Golden was the Illinois Department of Public Health's Chief of Staff between 2003 - 2008. She's accused of using $13-million in federal grants and contracts for bribes, then taking almost $500,000 back for herself.
"This victimizes every single person who contributes tax money and who is a citizen and who cares."
The money was supposed to be used for healthcare services, like cancer and HIV screenings, plus job training and education.
"She was more concerned about lining her pocket and those of her associates."
This all comes from findings of a special corruption task force. They've already charged more than a dozen others in similar public corruption schemes, totaling more than $16-million in misused funds. But, investigators say it could be worse.
"That's a fraction of the money that was used. My assumption is that a lot of the money for job training went to job training; a lot of the money for education went for education; a lot of the money for health went to health."
If convicted, Golden would have to pay all of the money back. She also faces up to 20-years in prison for each of six counts and up to 10-years for one count.
The U.S. Attorney General says the task force will continue the investigation. At the time, Golden was working under Public Health Director Dr. Eric Whitaker. Whitaker is a close friend of President Obama. The U.S. Attorney General couldn't comment if either man is involved in the investigation.
Here's a look at the biggest offenders the task force discovered: Besides Golden redirecting $13-million, investigators say $11-million went to companies run by Leon Dingle, Jr.. in other schemes, a Chicago couple admits taking more than $1-million in federal job training grants, a former lawmaker's aide is accused of taking more than $1-million in health grants for himself, and two Chicago nurses admit they put more than $1-million in grant checks into their own bank accounts.
Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.