Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Former RAEDC official pleads guilty to fraud

By Jim Hagerty

ROCKFORD — The former Rockford Area Economic and Development Council accused of embezzling more than $600,000 from the organization, pleaded guilty on Monday to two counts of fraud.

Leilani Hillis, 60, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of tax fraud in federal court. She was accused of using a company-issued credit card to make personal purchases totaling $632,718.99.

Officials say the illegal transactions happened over a 10-year period, when she was vice president of operations in charge of facilities, human resources, accounting and the annual audit. She was also signatory on the bank account and controlled RAEDC’s PayPal account.

Hillis started with the Rockford Area Economic and Development Council in 2001. She was fired last year.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 27. Hillis faces up to 23 years in prison. R.

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