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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 21, 2013

Former Energy Director For City Of Rockford Pleads Guilty To Fraud

ROCKFORD — The former Energy Director for the City of Rockford pleaded guilty today in federal court, before U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Kapala, to one count of mail fraud. MARK E. BIXBY, 58, of Rockton, Ill. admitted that between December 2006 and March 2010 he defrauded a heating contractor and window contractor, both of whom did work for the City’s Energy Division, out of at least $53,101.33 in funds and benefits.

According to the written plea agreement, 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.

In court today, Bixby admitted that he defrauded a heating contractor and a window contractor, both of whom did work under the weatherization program, by causing them to provide funds and benefits to him through false representations and pretenses. According to the plea agreement, the funds and benefits Bixby obtained from the two contractors included the following: (1) use of 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 which were 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.

Bixby is scheduled to be sentenced on March 3, 2014, at 2:30 p.m. Mail fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, or an alternate fine totaling twice the loss or twice the gain derived from the offense, whichever is greater, and restitution. The actual sentence will be determined by the United States District Court, guided by the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The guilty plea was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Robert J. Holley, 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 guilty plea was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Robert J. Holley, 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.

Plea Agreement

Updated July 27, 2015