The former owner of a suburban Chicago construction business convicted of acting as an illegal front so another company could secure a lucrative city airport contract was sentenced Thursday (Mar. 16, 2017) to 12 months in federal prison.
Lawyers for Elizabeth Perino had sought probation and home confinement, but U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman said he opted for prison to send a message to “an industry that needs to clean up its act.”
Perino’s conviction is the latest turn in an eight-year saga sparked in 2008 when Perino’s former project manager filed a whistleblower lawsuit alleging misconduct in massive projects run by industry giant McHugh Construction, a century-old company that reported more than a half-billion dollars in revenue in 2015.
That sparked a joint investigation by federal prosecutors and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan resulting in the criminal charges.
Perino’s company posed as a legitimate woman-owned business, allowing Chicago-based Diamond Coring Co. to meet its requirements for hiring disadvantaged businesses in order to win a multimillion-dollar runway repair contract at O’Hare International Airport. Perino did no work for the bills submitted by her company.
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