2 Ill. women accused of fraud in nursing grants - Wandtv.com, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News-

2 Ill. women accused of fraud in nursing grants

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Two Chicago women are accused of stealing at least $500,000 in taxpayer funds, including money earmarked for a program designed to encourage minorities to become nurses.

Margaret Davis and Tonja Cook both pleaded not guilty in federal court in Springfield on Wednesday. Davis is charged with 14 counts of mail fraud and two counts of money laundering. Cook faces a single count of mail fraud.

Part of the case involves a $460,000 grant for "Young Enough to Make a Difference," a program designed to encourage Chicago high school students to become nurses.

Prosecutors contend Davis, with Cook's help, obtained a total of 15 grants and contracts from state agencies totaling more than $1 million from 2005 to 2009. Authorities contend the women took thousands of dollars for personal use.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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