Illinois Man Sentenced for Defrauding Schools, Churches, and Community Organizations
Kevin E. Welch, 49, last known to reside in Altamont, IL, was sentenced on August 24, 2012, in federal court to sixty-three months in prison, three years supervised release, and restitution in the amount of $1,477,902.05, Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced. Welch was sentenced on two counts of mail fraud and one count of engaging in monetary transaction over $10,000 in property derived from specified unlawful activity.
Welch operated businesses that supplied office equipment, copiers and other equipment to schools, churches, community organizations and other businesses in the Southern District of Illinois and elsewhere. Welch committed a scheme to defraud that engaged in a multifaceted scheme to defraud businesses and organizations by way of a Ponzi scheme in providing copier equipment to organizations that were leased/financed through third-party lenders, then substituting and replacing 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 St. Boniface Catholic Church and Governor French Academy. The court found that there were twenty-five institutional victims, mostly churches, schools and charitable organizations with losses exceeding $1.4 million. Evidence introduced at sentencing showed that Welch continued his criminal conduct despite being interviewed by the F.B.I. inn 2000 and 2002. Information presented at sentencing showed that Welch began his career as a police officer but was terminated due to a theft arrest.
The investigation was handled by the United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service/Criminal Investigations. The prosecution of the case was 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