Fraud in Chicago? Unpossible! But that’s just what happened with a lucrative landscaping contract with the Chicago school system. (Little known fact: a well-decorated topiary garden can increase a fourth-grader’s capacity for learning by up to 30 percent.) Former Chicago Bears fullback Roland Harper managed to get himself caught in the middle, but the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES says that a judge ruled he was an unwitting dupe in a larger scheme, sparing him prison time and instead sentenced him to two years of probation for his role in the scheme, including a year of house arrest.
According to prosecutors, Chicago landscaping contractor Aidan Monahan really wanted a $1.5 million contract with Chicago Public Schools, but it was set aside for minority-owned businesses. So Monahan came up with a plan that made up for what it lacked in subtelty by being totally illegal. Monahan approached Harper (who is black) and eventually used Harper’s Rohar Construction company as a front to get the contract.