ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A former City of Rockford employee has been indicted for allegedly defrauding contractors out of tens of thousands of dollars. 57-year-old Mark Bixby worked as the City's Energy Director and was in charge of the Weatherization Program.
The Feds say that between December of 2006 and March of 2010, Bixby underpaid two contractors by about $50,000 and used that money to buy himself a convertible and to pay off bills. They also say that Bixby accepted bribes from the two contractors and extorted the heating contractor out of close to $3,000.
Bixby was charged with two counts of mail fraud, two counts of bribery, two counts of extortion, and one count of making false statements to the FBI.
Each count of mail fraud, bribery, and extortion carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and the false statement count carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.
Bixby is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday, January 28th in Rockford.
The City of Rockford has released the following statement concerning Bixby's charges:
“The City of Rockford applauds the efforts of Federal Law Enforcement in this investigation. In 2010, following receipt of information from a local private attorney, the City of Rockford launched an investigation into the City’s energy grant assistance program. Following a preliminary investigation by the Rockford Police Department the matter was referred to Federal Law Enforcement agencies. That investigation led directly to the indictments announced today.
During the early stages of the investigation, Mr. Bixby was placed on administrative leave. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Bixby was notified of the City’s determination to terminate his employment, at which time Mr. Bixby submitted his resignation.”