Former State Administrator Sentenced To 30 Months In Prison For Pay Scheme Fraud, Cover-Up
Peoria, Ill. – The former director of the Illinois Secretary of State’s Physical Services Division, Cecil Turner, was sentenced today to a term of 30 months in federal prison for his part in a scheme that allowed three night janitors to receive full pay over a six-year period while working only a fraction of their full-time hours. During the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Joe Billy McDade further ordered that Turner pay restitution in the amount of $49,558.87, and that Turner use his contributions to state retirement in the amount of $45,916.91 to pay toward the restitution amount. Judge McDade set February 7, 2007, as the date for Turner to self-report to the federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his sentence.
Turner was convicted following a five-day jury trial in Peoria in September 2006, of four counts of wire fraud and two counts of making false statements to federal agents related to the pay scheme. Sentencing for the three other defendants charged with the scheme is scheduled for January 25, 2007. Dana Dinora, 53, of 1500 South Fourth Street, Springfield; David Medvesek, 57, of Springfield, and Steven Boyce, 58, of Chatham, Illinois, each pled guilty to four counts of wire fraud.
Rodger A. Heaton, United States Attorney for the Central District of Illinois, said, “As a state employee, Mr. Turner chose to disregard his responsibilities to the taxpayers. His actions ensured that a group of employees who worked for him did not need to perform the work for which they were paid. Taxpayers deserve honest services from their government employees.”
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White said, “I commend my Inspector General, Jim Burns, and his staff, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their hard work in this case. We will not tolerate unacceptable conduct.”
Weysan Dun, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Division, stated, “The Springfield Division of the FBI is committed to doing our part to eliminate corruption within Illinois. There is a growing intolerance by the American people for public corruption - an intolerance reflected in the willingness to come forward and report abuse of public office. The vast majority of public officials are honest and committed to serving their community. However, even a small percentage of corruption and abuse is unacceptable. The FBI offers a national website to enable the public to report corruption: reportcorruption.fbi.gov.
The investigation was conducted by the Inspector General for the Illinois Secretary of State, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregory M. Gilmore and Patrick J. Chesley.
Evidence presented by the government at trial showed that during the period of the scheme, from April 1999 through August 2005, Turner was responsible for maintenance of certain state-owned or occupied buildings including the Herndon building and the Court of Claims building in Springfield. Until March 31, 2004, Dinora was also employed full-time as a supervisor for the city of Springfield’s Public Works Department. Several city employees testified that Turner frequently contacted Dinora to request that he direct city employees to perform work at or near Turner’s residence and on some occasions at other locations. This work included expediting removal of leaves, tree limbs and other yard waste; removal and disposal of Turner’s and others’ trash; and, removal and disposal of a truckload of campaign signs.
Shortly after Turner became Director of Physical Services, evidence was presented that he promoted Dinora to the lead janitor position over the night janitorial crew at the buildings where Dinora worked. Dinora, Medvesek and Boyce devised a system to receive their full pay despite working only a fraction of their official duty hours. As the scheme progressed, the number of hours increased for which the janitors were paid without working.
Evidence was also presented to show that when Dinora’s immediate supervisors questioned the amount of time that he, Medvesek, or Boyce were working, Dinora notified Turner so he was aware and could prevent any potential disciplinary actions from being taken against the janitors. Various supervisors testified that Turner either advised them not to check up on Dinora again or were relieved of their duties or reprimanded when they reported that Dinora and his crew were not working when they should have been.
Turner was also convicted of making false statements to FBI agents regarding his knowledge of the janitors’ work during two separate interviews on October 13, 2005, and again on November 11, 2005.
James A. Lewis
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