Former RAEDC leader sentenced to prison for fraud charges

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Leilani Hillis, former vice president of operations for the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, was sentenced to three years in prison for fraud charges.

The sentence includes 37 months in federal prison for mail fraud and 36 months for tax fraud. A federal judge ruled these sentence terms will take place concurrently and be followed by three years of supervised release.

Hillis was also ordered to pay restitution of $783, 905.90 for both charges.

In March, Hillis pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of tax fraud.

According to the plea agreement, Hillis used an employee-issued credit card to make more than $630,000 in unauthorized purchases from 2009 to 2018 for her own benefit.

Hillis also admitted that she "did not report as income the money from the organization that she used to pay the organization’s credit card for her unauthorized personal purchases," according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to records, Hillis failed to pay more than $150,000 in federal income taxes from tax years 2014 to 2017.