On Friday, it was announced that the founding pastor of New Birth Christian Center had been sentenced to prison for his involvement in a scheme to defraud a summer food program for low-income children. The non-denominational church is based out of Chicago, Illinois. 50-year-old Robbie Wilkerson has been ordered to serve 37 months in prison. He has also been ordered to pay $440,964 in restitution.
Wilkerson’s wife, Tasha 45, was also sentenced to one year and one day in prison. She has been ordered to pay $40,001 in restitution. In May of 2017, Robbie Wilkerson pled guilty to wire fraud and money laundering. The business administrator for the summer food program in 2010, Anthony Hall 55, was sentenced to five years of federal probation on September 22. The NBCC pastor from Downers Grove, Illinois will also be required to pay $40,001 in restitution.
52-year-old Richard Shumate and his wife 49-year-old Evelyn were both sentenced on September 15. They’ll serve five months in prison and five months of home confinement. The New Birth Christian Center operated the food program in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The church was one of the biggest recipients of Summer Program funds in the state of Illinois. For the 2010 year, Robbie Wilkerson submitted an operational budget of $446,440. The budget concluded that NBCC would run the program at 34 sites in Chicago.
In court, Wilkerson admitted to causing roughly $714,000 in false and fraudulent claims to be submitted to the Illinois State Board of Education. The claims submitted suggested that the church would provide 267,000 meals. In reality, less than 100,000 meals were served. Approximately $450,000 of the money was used for personal purposes by Wilkerson and his wife. Robbie and Tasha admitted to embezzling more than $100,000 from the program.
Again, 50-year-old Robbie Wilkerson has been sentenced to 37 months in prison for his involvement in the scheme.