Ex-Chicago contractor took bribes for food safety certifications, jailed for over 2 years

WLS reports a woman who formerly worked as food inspector for the city of Chicago was sentenced to more than two years in prison Wednesday for taking bribes to obtain food safety certificates for people who had not taken required courses or passed tests.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber sentenced Mary Anne Koll to 2 1/2 years in federal prison on Wednesday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. She will begin her sentence on Dec. 31.

The 69-year-old Burr Ridge resident was convicted last year of conspiracy to commit bribery for accepting at least $96,930 in return for fraudulently arranging to provide bogus certificates for at least 531 people, federal prosecutors charged.

Koll, an independent contractor working as a food inspector for the Chicago Public Health Department, taught state-mandated food sanitation courses and administered exams to people seeking certification between 1995 and 2007, the Dept. of Justice said. The course required 15 hours of training on food safety and sanitation, and state law required all food service establishments to have at least one certified manager on site.

Between June 2004 and June 2007, Koll fraudulently obtained certificates for people who had not attended the course or passed the exam, prosecutors said. Koll, who has since retired, got the certificates by completing the forms herself and submitting them to the IDPH.