Ex-Country Club Hills police chief accused of witness tampering in case against her
BY DAVE MCKINNEY Springfield Bureau Chief firstname.lastname@example.org March 18, 2013 6:00PM
Country Club Hills Police Chief Regina Evans leaves the Monadnock building in 2009 after speaking with attorney Terry Gillespie regarding the Christopher Kelly case. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 20, 2013 6:35AM
SPRINGFIELD — The former police chief of south suburban Country Club Hills was arrested and faces at least a week in a Downstate jail after being charged with allegedly tampering with a witness in her federal corruption case.
Regina Evans was accused of the tampering charge and obstruction of justice in a criminal complaint released Monday by the office of U.S. Attorney James A. Lewis, the top federal prosecutor who oversees central Illinois.
Those accusations follow the 2012 indictments of Evans and her husband, Ronald Evans, for allegedly misappropriating more than half of a $1.25 million job-training grant that went to a non-profit they controlled.
In the latest accusation, Evans allegedly offered to find a lawyer for an unnamed witness in her grant-fraud case. That witness worked for an Evans charity called We Are Our Brother’s Keeper through which $1.25 million in state work-training funds were funneled in 2009 to restore the historic New Regal Theater on Chicago’s South Side.
The unnamed witness allegedly lied to federal investigators and a grand jury about withdrawing $17,000 in state grant funds from the bank and depositing $5,000 directly into Evans’ own bank account.
Last month, upon further questioning, the unnamed witness admitted lying to the grand jury “at Evans’ direction and did so . . . to protect Evans,” according to the criminal complaint.
After the grand jury appearance, the witness is alleged to have met with Evans and told her she’d been described by investigators as a “target” in Evans’ ongoing corruption case.
“Evans told [the witness] that was just a scare tactic and that the government was trying to get [the witness] to break or fold and that without [the witness’] testimony, the government didn’t have anything to charge Evans with,” the complaint stated.
Evans’ lawyer, Lawrence Beaumont, denied the accusations against his client, who will remain in the Sangamon County jail until at least Monday, when a hearing on the new charges is scheduled.
“We disagree with the allegations, and we plan on litigating the matter,” he said.
After allegedly admitting lying to a grand jury, the unnamed witness agreed to secretly record Evans in her Chicago home on Feb. 14. During that encounter, Evans allegedly continued coaching the unnamed witness to stick by the account given to the grand jury.
“As long as you don’t get weak and let them pull you down and make you pull you into some s--- talking about, okay, well, weren’t you lying about this or lying about that, and don’t let them mess with your mind — you’re okay,” the complaint quoted Evans as saying during the recorded conversation.
“You’re about to, you’re about to mess yourself up in your mind, you know, listening to them trying, you know, letting them change what you saying and change your own mind,” Evans purportedly said. “Nothing them people could do you unless you give them something.”