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Former RAEDC leader sentenced to federal prison

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Leilani Hillis, the former vice president of operations for the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, was sentenced Tuesday for fraud.

U.S. District Judge Philip G. Reinhard handed down a sentence of 37 months in federal prison for mail fraud and 36 months for tax fraud, which she will serve at the same time. That will be followed by three years of supervised release.

Hillis is also ordered to pay restitution of $632,718.99 on the mail fraud and $151,186.91 on the tax fraud charge.

The 60-year-old pleaded guilty in March.

In the plea agreement, Hillis said from 2009 to 2018 she used her employee issued credit card to make unauthorized purchases for her personal benefit totaling $632,718.99.

Hillis concealed the crime by using RAEDC’s accounting codes to make it appear the purchases were for the organization’s benefit and forged the initials of RAEDC’s president on the expense reports.

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