Former Energy Director For City Of Rockford Indicted On Public Corruption Charges
ROCKFORD — The former Energy Director for the City of Rockford was indicted today on federal charges of public corruption. MARK E. BIXBY, 57, of Rockton, Ill. was charged with two counts of mail fraud, two counts of bribery, two counts of extortion, and one count of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to the indictment, Bixby, as the Energy Director, managed the City of Rockford’s Energy Division. The Energy Division operated the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program in Winnebago and Boone counties. The purpose of the weatherization program was to help low-income residents save energy and money by providing services that included repairing and replacing heating systems, windows and doors. The indictment alleges that from at least December 2006 to March 2010, Bixby defrauded a heating contractor and a window contractor, both of whom did work under the weatherization program, out of at least $53,101.33 in funds and benefits. The indictment also charges that Bixby accepted bribes from the contractors and extorted the heating contractor out of $2,980.
According to the indictment, the funds and benefits that Bixby obtained from the two contractors via fraud, extortion, and bribes, included the following: (1) a new 2007 two-door, red convertible Pontiac Solstice; (2) a total of $18,440 in donations to “charities,” which were deposited into bank accounts controlled by Bixby and a family member, and used to pay their personal expenses; (3) $2,980 for the “sale” of cemetery plots by Bixby to the heating contractor, for which Bixby never turned over the titles or deeds to the heating contractor; and (4) a $2,000 “loan” from the window contractor, which Bixby never repaid.
Each count of mail fraud, bribery, and extortion carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The false statements count carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison. All of the counts carry a maximum fine of $250,000 fine, or an alternate fine totaling twice the loss or twice the gain derived from the offense, whichever is greater, and restitution. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
Bixby is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment on Monday, January 28, 2013, at 11:15 a.m., at the federal courthouse in Rockford. The arraignment will be conducted by U.S. Magistrate Judge P. Michael Mahoney.
The indictment was announced by Gary S. Shapiro, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Rockford Police Department assisted in the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott A. Verseman.
An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.