Former Warsaw Streets Superintendent takes plea deal in theft case

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(Photo supplied/Kosciusko County Sheriff's Department)

A proposed plea deal has been reached in the case of former Warsaw street superintendent Lacy Francis, according to court documents filed this morning.

Francis has agreed to plead guilty to six felony counts, including corrupt business influence and aiding a theft.

Under the agreement, the maximum time Francis can serve in prison is two years,  and any other time will be served on probation or work release.

Francis, 64, was accused of a scheme that bilked the city out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Francis was charged in 2014 with eight felony counts in connection with the scandal. He orignally entered a plea of not guilty to the charges.

A change of plea hearing is scheduled for June 12 in Kosciusko Circuit Court. The proposed agreement is expected to be presented to the court then.

Police allege Francis masterminded the plot with Marc Campbell of Pro Form Pipe Lining LLC. Francis would “tip off” Campbell to the bids for city contracts to ensure Pro Form would be awarded projects. As Pro Form would be awarded the contracts, it would “add 100 feet” to each project, and Francis and Campbell would pocket the extra money.

Police were alerted to the scheme when an anonymous tipster called the city office and reported Pro Form was overbilling for its work.

Under the agreement, Francis must make all restitution for “charged and uncharged conduct.”

The total amount owed is yet to be determined. The Indiana attorney general’s office has filed a civil suit to collect the ill-gotten money.

Since the restitution is expected to be more money than Francis has in his retirement account, the Public Employee Retirement Fund, all of his benefits will be transferred to the city of Warsaw, according to the agreement.

Campbell pleaded guilty to four counts of providing false information to obtain a government contract and was placed on home detention in March.

Two others still face charges in connection with the scheme.

Former Pipe Pro Form field manager Kevin Brown faces five charges including corrupt business influence and theft. He is scheduled for a pre-trial conference June 12.

Lacy’s wife, Mildred Francis, faces six counts of money laundering in connection with the scheme. She is scheduled for a pre-trial conference June 26.

Mildred and Lacy are in the process of getting a divorce.

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