Judge sentences former Muncie building commissioner to 2 years in federal prison
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Muncie’s former building commissioner was sentenced to two years in federal prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to wire fraud and money laundering.
Craig Nichols learned his punishment during a hearing in federal court in Indianapolis. He was sentenced to 2 years in federal prison along with 3 years of supervised released. He was also ordered to pay restitution.
Nichols was initially charged with more than 30 counts related to wire fraud and money laundering in 2017. He was accused of using two companies he owned to do work for the city without competitive bidding. Investigators said the companies were paid inflated prices for those services and were sometimes paid without finishing work.
According to court documents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Nichols billed the city nearly $800,000. He told contractors to submit false claims and quotes to make sure his companies’ inflated bids would win.
During his hearing Tuesday, Nichols apologized to his family, Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler and Muncie citizens, according to Muncie Star Press.
Much of the hearing surrounded how much Nichols would pay in restitution. The final figure was $217,892. Nichols’ attorney argued his client had “virtually no assets”; federal prosecutors said they might seek forfeiture of his home and a rental property owned by his wife, the Star Press reported.
The investigation into problems with the Muncie Sanitary District isn’t finished, however. In September, the FBI and Indiana State Police arrested two men in connection with the case.