Town of Chesterfield Officials Indicted for Theft of More Than $190,000
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 02, 2009|
INDIANAPOLIS—Christopher L. Parrish, 45, of Chesterfield, and James M. Kimm, 40, Joseph M. Brown, 38, and Willard A. Felts, 63, all of Anderson, were charged with theft of federal program funds following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Indiana State Police.
The Town of Chesterfield, Indiana, received a total of $183,321.46 from the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development in multiple payments between March 13 and December 21, 2008.
The indictment alleges Christopher L. Parrish, the clerk-treasurer of Chesterfield, undertook a series of fraud schemes with other Chesterfield officials and associates to obtain town funds without authority. In each instance, Parrish purportedly used his position to fraudulently approve false claims filed with the town, and then divided the proceeds of the schemes with the other participants.
In the first scheme, the indictment alleges Parrish conspired with Town Marshal James M. Kimm to process false mileage claims submitted by Kimm. Between December 17, 2007, and October 16, 2008, Kimm allegedly submitted and Parrish processed 27 false mileage claims in the aggregate amount of $47,022. Kimm purported to conduct authorized town business using his personal vehicle. None of the claimed travel alleged actually occurred.
In the second scheme, the indictment further alleges Parrish conspired with Kimm and Chesterfield reserve police officer Joseph M. Brown to process false claims regarding work purportedly performed by Brown in the name “Brown’s Automotive” on town vehicles and equipment. Between March 27, 2007, and August 4, 2008, Brown allegedly submitted, at the instance of Kimm, 21 false claims in the aggregate amount of $105,593. Parrish purportedly processed these claims and divided the proceeds with Kimm and Brown. None of the claimed services were performed.
In the third scheme, it is alleged Parrish created false invoices in a fictitious business name of his friend Willard A. Felts, Jr. The claims purported to be for repair and maintenance work performed by Felts on town property. Between April 3, 2007, and November 8, 2008, Parrish allegedly processed 12 false claims in the aggregate amount of $37,600 and divided the proceeds with Felts. None of the claimed services were provided.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney James M. Warden, who is prosecuting the case for the government, Parrish is named in three counts and faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. Kimm, named in two counts, and Brown and Felts, each named in one count, face similar penalties. An initial hearing will be scheduled before a U.S. Magistrate Judge.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.