Former financial manager pleads guilty to mail fraud

From Illinois Business Journal news services

BENTON – Bruce L. Johnson, 50, of Wayne City, Ill., the former manager of Finance and Office Services for Wayne-White Counties Electric Cooperative and treasurer of the Wayne City First Christian Church, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Benton to a four-count information charging him with defrauding both organizations.

Stephen R. Wigginton, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, said Johnson acknowledged that between 2007 and 2013, Johnson used his trusted positions with both organizations to steal more than $350,000 in cooperative and church funds.

Throughout that time period Johnson regularly used the U.S. mail to send unauthorized, and in many cases forged, checks drawn on the organizations’ respective bank accounts to his personal creditors and others.

Sentencing is set for Aug. 27 at 10 a.m., at the United States District Courthouse in Benton. At that time, on each count, Johnson faces up to 20 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release to follow any term of incarceration imposed. Johnson will also be required to make full restitution to his victims. Johnson will remain on bond pending sentencing.

The investigation leading to the charges and guilty plea was a cooperative effort by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Fairfield Police Department, and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James M. Cutchin.

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