Author: Doug Powell --- Source: barfblog These 675 people make your meals: Illinois man gets 18 months for food safety bribes

A Lynwood, Illinois man has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for accepting bribes in exchange for allowing students in his food safety training classes to bypass sanitation certification testing, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago. Ernest Griffin, 71, was sentenced Wednesday and also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, according to the office. Griffin had pleaded guilty in March 2016 to one count of federal program bribery, according to court records. His business, Food Safety Awareness, contracted with the Illinois Department of Public Health to offer food handling courses. Students needed to complete a 15-hour course and take an exam in order to receive sanitation certificates from the health department. In exchange for bribes, Griffin submitted false certifications and false test results to the department, although prosecutors and Griffin’s lawyer disagreed on the total amount of bribes the man received, court documents show. Prosecutors said that starting in at least 2008 and continuing through January 2015 Griffin received bribes from students, taking in a total of almost $152,000. His lawyer, in a filing, said that Griffin admitted to receiving more than $5,000 a year in bribes from 2010 through 2014. The government said that Griffin’s bribery scheme ended only after he was confronted by FBI agents in January 2015. The government contended that during that four-year period, about 675 students who hadn’t taken the required class or exam were given sanitation certificates.