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Friday, September 07, 2018 10:24 am

Warsaw reaps $1 million judgment

Former street superintendent participated in kickback scheme

Niki Kelly | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Attorney General Curtis Hill this week won a judgment of nearly $1 million for the city of Warsaw from a former employee who bilked the city out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Former Street Superintendent Lacy Francis Jr. participated in a kickback scheme involving a private contractor, Pro Form Pipe Lining Co., and its owner, Marc Campbell, a news release said. Francis helped the company win bids on 11 city projects involving installation of new lining for sewer pipes. The company deliberately overcharged for its work – sometimes by claiming to have done more work than what was actually performed – and shared the windfall with Francis.

Last year, Francis was convicted and sentenced to 13 years in jail on multiple felonies related to the scheme.

Hill said the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of Indiana ruled on Tuesday that Francis is responsible for a judgment of $955,707 – plus interest, costs, and attorneys' fees. The judgment represents the misappropriated amounts, audit costs and damages. The former official's attorneys had sought to relieve Francis of his full liability due to his declared bankruptcy. Under the ruling, however, Francis will be responsible for paying the judgment against him once he emerges from bankruptcy.

Efforts are still ongoing against Campbell and Pro Form to also hold them responsible financially.

"Men and women working government jobs at all levels are entrusted to be honest stewards of public money," Hill said.

Former Attorney General Greg Zoeller in 2014 filed the original suit seeking repayment of $334,000 in public funds allegedly defrauded from the city.