McLean Co. (ECWd) -
What we know:
Allin Township has not provided all the ordinances requested, and the attorney has failed to respond to my specific request for Ordinance 13-8 and applicable approval minutes. By all indications, members of the Allin Township Fire Protection District Board of Trustees appear to have forged this ordinance by back-dating it in order to provide cover for their submission of bills for services they provided, which is not legal without prior approval. We suspect that is the very reason they failed to provide both the ordinance and the minutes pertaining to this particular ordinance.
Ordinance 13-8 is dated November 13, 2013, and is represented as a document approved on that same date. However, the minutes for that date have no reference to any action at all pertaining to this ordinance, which means it was not approved during that meeting. Without proper approval, the ordinance is void ab-initio.
According to records we have obtained, the Fire Department has billed approximately $35,000.00 under an ordinance that was never approved. That action may qualify as a false claim as defined by the law.
Where this chain of events gets even more concerning is the actions taken when the Fire Chief exposed it and took the matter to local law enforcement and State's Attorney.
Sheriff fails the people:
- "Sheriff Sandage responded that his office would not initiate an investigation on any of these concerns. He felt most were business law violations and would not be investigated by a Law Enforcement Agency." (Quote from E-mail)
May we suggest McLean County get a new Sheriff, as this one clearly does not know his duties are to enforce all of our laws. UPDATE - We have confirmed the Sheriff has 27 hrs of training submitted to the ILETSB. In this case, all indications point to him being able to investigate forgery, false claim, official misconduct, record concealment and I'm sure there is probably some we overlooked.
State's Attorney fails the people:
- "On November 7, 2015 I received a response from State's Attorney Jason Chambers. Jason advised that while there are items on your list which could be illegal or inappropriate, he does not believe the State's Attorney's Office has the jurisdiction to prosecute any of them. Most fall under the IRS or Illinois Department of Labor. Some may be the Attorney General. There was one matter that the State's Attorney may have had jurisdiction on, but it occurred in 2008 and the statute of limitations expired in 2011." (Quote from E-mail)
So now we have a State's Attorney, who possesses all the power to prosecute in his county, telling authorities investigating this matter that he does not have jurisdiction to prosecute any of these items? Can anyone tell me how false claims and forged documents fall under the authority of the IRS or the Department of Labor?
When documents are created and backdated to represent they were approved prior to the actual approval and done so with the intent to send invoices to bring money into the fire department, state laws are being violated and it is up to our law enforcement and State's Attorney's to investigate and prosecute. Both have failed in this situation and now they must be held accountable.
When the system fails in what appears to be such a clear case of violations of law, we are in major trouble in this state and it once again points to this state needing federal intervention. Much like it took in East St. Louis in this case.
To compound this situation, when this matter got exposed to the police and questions started to get raised, we find that e-mail communications prove there was no ordinance as late as November of 2014. That being the case, billing prior to any ordinance would be invalid. If there was no ordinance at that point as is indicated in the e-mails, then it appears to support that they created one once it was questioned as a means of providing cover for the false billing. In fact, after being confronted, they wrote up ordinance 04-15 that mimics the 13-8 ordinance and it is dated October 14, 2015. They approved it during the October 14, 2015, meeting according to the minutes.
When I requested all the ordinances and minutes of their approval, the 2013 ordinance was concealed. I say concealed because it was provided to another person in their FOIA request prior to mine, so they knew it existed. It was that prior production that triggered this entire chain of events. Now with a paper trail of record concealment, we fully intend on filing a criminal complaint with the authorities on this matter.
Based on the information we have obtained, we believe the following criminal statutes have been violated.
(720 ILCS 5- Sec. 17-3. Forgery. (a) A person commits forgery when, with intent to defraud, he or she knowingly:
- makes a false document or alters any document to make it false and that document is apparently capable of defrauding another; or
- issues or delivers such document knowing it to have been thus made or altered; or
- possesses, with intent to issue or deliver, any such document knowing it to have been thus made or altered; or
- unlawfully uses the digital signature, as defined in the Financial Institutions Electronic Documents and Digital Signature Act, of another; or
- unlawfully uses the signature device of another to create an electronic signature of that other person, as those terms are defined in the Electronic Commerce Security Act.
When records are concealed from the public it has to potential to be a class 4 felony crime under the Local Records Act.
(50 ILCS 205/Sec. 4. (a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this Section, all public records made or received by, or under the authority of, or coming into the custody, control or possession of any officer or agency shall not be mutilated, destroyed, transferred, removed or otherwise damaged or disposed of, in whole or in part, except as provided by law. Any person who knowingly, without lawful authority and with the intent to defraud any party, public officer, or entity, alters, destroys, defaces, removes, or conceals any public record commits a Class 4 felony.
Knowingly violating the law by a public official is a violation of the Official Misconduct statute.
(720 ILCS 5/33-3)- Official misconduct. (a) A public officer or employee or special government agent commits misconduct when, in his official capacity or capacity as a special government agent, he or she commits any of the following acts:
- Intentionally or recklessly fails to perform any mandatory duty as required by law; or
- Knowingly performs an act which he knows he is forbidden by law to perform; or
- With intent to obtain a personal advantage for himself or another, he performs an act in excess of his lawful authority; or
- Solicits or knowingly accepts for the performance of any act a fee or reward which he knows is not authorized by law.
Sending out invoices for payment of services when there is no approval for such billing is covered under the False Claims Act.
740 ICLS 175/3 False Claims - (a) Liability for certain acts.
(1) In general, any person who:
(A) knowingly presents, or causes to be presented, a false or fraudulent claim for payment or approval;
(B) knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made or used, a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim;
(C) conspires to commit a violation of subparagraph (A), (B), (D), (E), (F), or (G);