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Former Kankakee Wastewater Utilities Official Indicted

A federal grand jury (Tuesday) returned an indictment that charges 73-year-old Richard G. Simms with defrauding Kankakee’s wastewater utilities, Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency (KRMA) and the city’s Environmental Service Utility (ESU), of more than $2 million. The Marietta, Ohio resident could be facing up to 10 years in federal rison, if convicted.  

According to the indictment, during the time of the alleged fraud, from 2014 through 2018, Simms served as executive director of KRMA, which was responsible for treating wastewater from its member municipalities, namely, Kankakee, Bradley, Bourbonnais, and Aroma Park, Ill. KRMA also treated wastewater from Manteno and Chebanse, Ill., by intergovernmental agreement. During this period, Simms was also the Superintendent of ESU that serves as Kankakee’s public works and sewer system. At the same time, Simms owned and operated Simms Engineering, LTD. 

From 2014 through 2018, Simms received more than $2.5 million in salary and legitimate payments: approximately $1,124,288 from KRMA and approximately $1,594,585 from ESU. In addition, and independent of his salary and payments, the indictment alleges that Simms fraudulently received approximately $2.2 million - $768,000 from KRMA and $1,257,000 from ESU - as payment to Simms Engineering for software development by Plum Flower International. Simms and his daughter registered Plum Flower International with the State of Illinois in March 2014 purportedly to develop a software application for medical companies to track medical records. 

The indictment alleges that although Simms did not have board approval or contracts with his engineering firm to develop software, he submitted fraudulent and inflated invoices to KRMA and ESU for software development. Simms allegedly circumvented KRMA’s invoice payment procedure by submitting invoices directly to its accounting firm. As a result, KRMA’s superintendent and administrative assistant did not approve and were unaware of the invoices. 

From May 2014 through September 2018, Simms Engineering allegedly transferred more than $2 million to Plum Flower International, which represented more than 95% of its revenue during this time frame. Plum Flower International allegedly used approximately $161,000 of the funds to pay another company to create a software application which they attempted to sell on the open market. The remaining funds were allegedly used for the personal benefit of Simms and his daughter, the owners of Plum Flower International.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene L. Miller is representing the government in the case prosecution. The U.S. Clerk of the Court will set the date for Simms to appear in federal court in Urbana for arraignment.

94.1 WGFA

 

  • Parent Category: News

$5-Million Mask Campaign

“It only works if you wear it.” That’s the theme of a $5 million campaign promoting face covering mandates amid COVID-19 concerns. Gov. J.B. Pritzker in Springfield Monday announced the launch of the taxpayer-funded effort amid COVID-19 concerns. The campaign will use TV, radio, billboards and social media with people comparing masks to seat belts and other public health mandates.

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  • Parent Category: News

New CFO at IMH in Watseka

Iroquois Memorial Hospital has announced the hiring of Richard Harning as its new Chief Financial Officer. Harning brings 28 years of financial healthcare leadership experience to the job.  He has special expertise in physician contracting and cost-control initiative development.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Former Dwight Teacher facing more sexual assault charges

35-year-old Kathy Patten is facing five counts of criminal sexual assault, four more counts since her earlier arrest. The Livingston County State’Attorney’s office reports all are class one felonies.
Patten allegedly sexually assaulted a male student between the ages of 13 and 17. Patten has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is scheduled to stand trial in September. Patten was a family and consumer science teacher at Dwight Township High School.

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  • Parent Category: News

Judge Sabol filling vacancy as resident circuit Judge

Associate Judge Michael Sabol becomes the 21st Circuit's resident judge for Iroquois County today (Monday).  A swearing-in ceremony is at the Kankakee County Courthouse in Room 300.  Judge Sabol fills a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge James Kinzer. Sabol is running unopposed for the bench seat in the November General Election.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride will swear in Judge Sabol during the ceremony at 11:30 am.

Sabol has served the 21st Circuit as an Associate Judge since September 2016.  Prior to his position on the bench, Sabol was an associate with the law firm Elliott & McClure, P.C. and then with Godin, Denton & Elliott, P.C.  He was also an assistant public defender and earler served as an assistant Iroquois County State's Attorney.

94.1 WGFA