Former Energy Director for the City of Rockford Sentenced on Fraud Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 10, 2014|
ROCKFORD—The former energy director for the city of Rockford was sentenced today in federal court by U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Kapala for mail fraud. Mark E. Bixby, 58, of Rockton, Illinois, was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution in the total amount of $41,618.33 to the two victims. Judge Kapala immediately remanded Bixby to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service to begin serving his sentence.
Bixby pled guilty on November 21, 2013, admitting that between December 2006 and March 2010, he defrauded a heating contractor and window contractor, both of whom did work under the weatherization program for the city’s energy division, by causing them to provide funds and benefits to him through false representations and pretenses. 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.
According to the plea agreements, the funds and benefits Bixby obtained from the two contractors included the following: (1) use of a new 2007 red two-door 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; and (4) a $2,000 “loan” from the window contractor, which Bixby never repaid.
The sentencing 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 government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark T. Karner.