Jeri Wright (pictured left), the daughter of famed bully pulpit preacher and President Barack Obama‘s former cleric, Rev. Jeremiah Wright (pictured), was indicted on Wednesday for money laundering, lying to the feds, and giving false statements before a grand jury, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The 47-year-old community activist, who once worked as president of the Chicago branch of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, is accused of participating in a fraudulent plot involving her close friend, former suburban police chief Regina Evans and her husband, Ronald.
Wright allegedly helped the former police lieutenant turn paychecks from Evans’ nonprofit into money for her personal use by hiding state grant monies that were earmarked to assist minorities and females in GED preparation and job training.
According to Illinois federal prosecutors in 2009, Wright allegedly cashed $28,000 worth of grant monies from the nonprofit’s bank account, and of this amount, she deposited $20,000 in to the Evans’ personal bank account. According to prosecutors, Wright benefited from the monies then later lied to police and the grand jury about her participation in the plot.
The charges emerge about a year after Evans was charged with fraud in relation to a $1.25 million job training grant awarded to her nonprofit, We Are Our Brother’s Keeper.
The couple is accused of siphoning money from the grant to pay family and friends and then cover the mortgage of the New Regal Theater on Chicago’s South Side, which they are reportedly attempting to restore so it could serve as a cultural hub in the impoverished community.
The indictment alleges that little-to-no job training actually took place.
In one of the indictment transcripts, Wright testified to a grand jury about how strapped she was for cash. “I was in financial straits. There’s no way I was giving money to anybody other than my creditors,” Wright stated.
Wright’s father, Jeremiah, was the fiery and contentious pastor emeritus of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ that Obama attended for more than two decades. Obama and the highly controversial pastor parted ways during his 2008 presidential run, when Jeremiah’s sermons touched off a firestorm in the media. Jeremiah’s commentaries inspired such intense debate that the President had to distance himself from the pastor or else risk losing his presidential campaign.