Illinois Man Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Schools, Churches and Community Organizations in Fraud Scheme Involving Leased Copy Machines
Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced that Kevin E. Welch, 49, last known to reside in Altamont, IL, plead guilty today in Federal District Court to two counts of Mail Fraud and to one count of Engaging in Monetary Transaction Over $10,000 in Property Derived From Specified Unlawful Activity. Welch had been indicted by a federal grand jury on February 23, 2011. At his sentencing, scheduled for March 16, 2012, Welch faces a total statutory penalty of up to 50 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $750,000.00, or both, a term of supervised release of up to three years, and mandatory restitution. Welch’s actual sentence will be imposed by the Court, after the Court considers the advisory sentencing guidelines and the statutory sentencing factors.
Welch had operated businesses which supplied office equipment, copiers and other equipment to schools, churches, community organizations and other businesses in the Southern District of Illinois and elsewhere. The Indictment charged that from in or about 2001, and continuing through on or about October, 2009, Welch engaged in a multifaceted scheme to defraud businesses and organizations that included a Ponzi scheme in providing copier equipment to organizations that were leased/financed through third-party lenders, the substituting and replacing of copier equipment under new lease terms while falsely indicating the prior lease would be bought out or otherwise terminated by the new lease agreement; the providing of used copy equipment that was represented as new; the fraudulent signing and revision of lease agreements; falsely representing that toner and service would be included as part of the lease; providing different equipment than what was leased and represented, and falsely representing himself as an employee and/or authorized representative of a company. The mail fraud counts allege that Welch engaged in a scheme to defraud the St. Boniface Catholic Church and the Governor French Academy.
The Indictment and guilty plea follow an investigation by the United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service/Criminal Investigations. The prosecution of the case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Norman R. Smith.
People who believe they have been a victim of mail fraud may file a complaint with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/mailfraudcomplaint.aspx.