Former Bloomington Parks Department office manager indicted for fraud
INDIANAPOLIS – Josh J. Minkler, United States Attorney, announced today that federal criminal charges have been filed against a former office manager for the City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department. Judith A. Seigle, 51, of Gosport, Indiana, was indicted by a federal grand jury on a wire fraud charge alleging that Seigle executed a scheme to steal over $400,000 in funds intended for Parks Department projects and programs.
“The citizens of Bloomington deserve better from their paid city employees,” said Minkler. “This is the second employee in less than one year charged with stealing city funds. Public officials need to serve the public and not serve themselves. The projects and programs of the Park’s Department exist to benefit the citizens of Bloomington. The indictment alleges that Defendant Seigle used funds intended for the parks as a piggy bank to benefit herself.”
Seigle, in her position as office manager, was responsible for maintaining certain books and records for the Parks Department as well as books and records for the Bloomington Community Parks and Recreation Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, which exists to provide support for Bloomington’s parks and community programs. The indictment alleges that from approximately 2001 to October 2014, she diverted, embezzled, and misappropriated approximately $430,000 in funds from the Foundation and Parks Department for her personal use and benefit. It is alleged that Seigle used Foundation credit cards to make purchases for her personal use and that she caused numerous funds transfers from Foundation and Parks Department bank accounts to her personal bank and credit card accounts. It is further alleged that, to conceal her fraudulent scheme, Seigle created false bank statements and, for several years on a monthly basis, provided them to the Foundation’s executive director and others.
According to Senior Litigation Counsel Steve DeBrota and Assistant United States Attorney Nick Linder, who are prosecuting this case for the United States, Seigle faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
An indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which time the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the Bloomington Police Department, with assistance from the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office.
Separately, Justin Wykoff, former Manager for Engineering Services for the City of Bloomington, pled guilty in federal court today to 11 counts of wire fraud for receiving kickbacks from the operators of a local concrete company and awarding City contracts to the company.
In pleading guilty, Wykoff admitted that he was responsible for bidding and awarding contracts for public works projects in the City, like road paving and sidewalk construction. Between April 2011 to February 2014, Wykoff solicited and received substantial cash bribes and kickbacks from Roger Hardin and Zach Hardin, who operated a company called Reliable Concrete and Construction. In exchange for the kickbacks, Wykoff assisted the Hardins in obtaining over $800,000 in City construction contracts and payments for Reliable Concrete. Wykoff estimated project costs and prepared bid proposals, using his inside information to ensure Reliable Concrete was the low bidder. In some cases, Wykoff awarded City contracts to Reliable Concrete outright without obtaining bids from other contractors. Wykoff also authorized City payments to Reliable Concrete totaling approximately $807,000. Of that amount, approximately $300,000 was for work that was never completed by Reliable Concrete.
Wykoff and the Hardins took steps to conceal their scheme by creating false Reliable Concrete bid proposals after the fact. On February 17, 2014, Wykoff went to Roger Hardin’s home and created multiple bid proposal forms for projects that the City of Bloomington had already paid Reliable Concrete for – even though Reliable Concrete had not performed the work. The forms were backdated to coincide with the dates that the work was supposed to have taken place. Wykoff initialed or signed these forms as if he had approved the bids and then planted copies of the forms in his office in an attempt to further conceal the scheme.
FBI Special Agent in Charge W. Jay Abbott stated, “Public corruption is one of the FBI’s top investigative priorities and FBI Agents remain committed to pursuing those individuals that violate the public’s trust.”
According to Senior Litigation Counsel Steve DeBrota and Assistant United States Attorney Nick Linder, who are prosecuting the case for the government, if the court accepts Wykoff’s plea agreement, the court could impose a sentence of imprisonment of between 51 and 63 months and order full restitution of $446,335.26 to the City of Bloomington. The court, however, has the authority to make the final determination of the sentence.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the Bloomington Police Department.