Court: Ex-Warsaw city official must repay $955K he bilked

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A federal bankruptcy court has awarded the city of Warsaw nearly $1 million that had been lost when a contractor overcharged it through a kickback scheme run by its former street superintendent.

In late 2013, officials began looking into former Warsaw Street Superintendent Lacy Francis Jr. after it was learned a private contractor, Pro Form Pipe Lining Co., and its owner, Marc Campbell, had been intentionally overcharging the city for work. Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said Francis helped the company win bids on 11 city projects involving installation of new lining for sewer pipes, and Pipe Lining would then overcharge for its work – sometimes by claiming to have done more work than what was actually performed.

Campbell would then share the windfall with Francis, Hill said.

Francis was convicted last year and sentenced to 13 years for multiple felonies. A case against Campbell and Pro Form as an entity is still pending.

This week, then, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of Indiana found Francis responsible for a judgment of $955,707 – plus interest, costs, and attorneys’ fees. The judgment represents the misappropriated amounts, audit costs and treble damages, according to Hill.

Campbell’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, Hill said.

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

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