EAST ST. LOUIS — A former St. Louis development official was sentenced to two years of probation this week and ordered to repay $23,998 to an East St. Louis nonprofit that helps children and families.
Leonard C. Johnson III pleaded guilty via Zoom to an embezzlement charge and was given his sentence Wednesday.
Johnson was the last of four defendants in the case involved in the embezzlement of $270,000 from the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House, which provides housing assistance, a day care program and other services.
The nonprofit’s former executive director, Christopher K. Coleman, was sentenced in March to 18 months in prison and ordered to repay $270,000 to the group.
Jeremy Turner, of Dallas, was sentenced in August to two years of probation and ordered to repay $45,082 after pleading guilty to charges of making false statements to the Southern Illinois Public Corruption Task Force and aiding and abetting the embezzlement.
Prosecutors and a lawyer for Tiffany K. Taylor, of Maryville, have struck a deal for pretrial diversion for her, a form of probation, court records filed last month show. Prosecutors cited “health considerations, family considerations and (her) acceptance of responsibility” in support of the deal.
Coleman created fake invoices from July 2016 to January 2017 to trigger payments from Lessie Bates to a company he owned. Turner admitted creating more than $40,000 in false invoices from his company, Teach Me Technology LLC, and kicking money back to Coleman. Prosecutors have said Coleman sent money to both Johnson and Turner.
Taylor, a Cahokia School District grant manager at the time, lied to federal agents when she claimed she had not requested Apple watches from Lessie Bates as part of an after-school program. Turner admitted creating more than $40,000 in false invoices from Teach Me Technology and kicking money back to Coleman.
Johnson was placed on leave from his job as the St. Louis Development Corp.’s director of Neighborhood Business Development in October 2019 after he was indicted.
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