A former Cook County official was found guilty of steering contracts to four acquaintances and receiving kickbacks, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced.
Eugene Mullins was director of of the Cook County Department of Public Affairs and Communications from March 2008 to November 2010. The contracts were worth about $25,000 each and Mullins received kickbacks totaling $34,700.
Mullins, 49, of Chicago, is also a former Chicago police officer. He was convicted of three counts of wire fraud and four counts of accepting kickbacks. Mullins faces up to 20 years in prison on each count of wire fraud and up to 10 years on each count of accepting kickbacks.
The four individuals who received the county contracts were placed on probation and ordered to pay full restitution to the county. They also testified as government witnesses. They were: Gary Render, Michael L. Peery, and Clifford Borner of Chicago, Kenneth Gregory Demos of Oak Park.
During 2010, Mullins steered a $24,980 disaster grant contract to Render, who kick-backed $9,000 to Mullins; a $24,985 energy grant contract to Peery, who kick-backed $12,000; a $24,995 census contract to Borner, who kick-backed $5,000; and a $24,997 census contract to Demos, who kick-backed $8,700, a press release states.
Evidence also showed that Mullins steered an additional census contract for $24,390 to another individual, and then solicited a portion of the proceeds. However, this individual instead returned the uncashed vendor check to the county.
"To conceal the scheme, Mullins advised the contract recipients to falsely deny the circumstances surrounding the contracts if questioned by investigators," the press release stated. "For example, he advised Peery not to say anything about paying him a portion of the contract in cash, and advised Borner to claim ownership of the invoice submitted in support of his census contract."