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Suburban Woman To Spend Year in Prison For City Contract Fraud

 Elizabeth Perino allowed her Perdel Contracting Co. to be used in a pass-through scheme to obtain a City of Chicago female-owned business contract.
Elizabeth Perino allowed her Perdel Contracting Co. to be used in a pass-through scheme to obtain a City of Chicago female-owned business contract.
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Flickr/Joselito Tagarao

CHICAGO — A suburban woman will spend a year and a day in prison for scheming to break City of Chicago rules that set aside contracts for businesses owned by women.

Elizabeth Perino, 62, of Willowbrook, was convicted last year of three counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud. She was sentenced Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman said he opted for prison rather than home confinement as requested by Perino's lawyers to send a message to "an industry that needs to clean up its act."

Perino apologized for her actions before being sentenced.

Perino allowed her company to be claimed as a subcontractor on city projects so that the general contractor could satisfy its requirement to assign a portion of the work to female-owned businesses, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois.

Even though her business, Perdel Contracting Co., did not plan to any work on the projects, Perino expected to be paid as if she had, officials said.

City rules require 5 percent of all city contracts be awarded to businesses owned by women.

At Perino's trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Perino agreed not to let her employees do any work for a project at O’Hare International Airport, even though that work would be credited to her firm, satisfying the city's requirements.

Perino also entered into a sham contract to buy street sweepers and fraudulently tell city officers her employees were performing the work, while another company actually completed the project.