A Central Illinois boat and watercraft dealership, with an East Peoria store, was among the victims of a $2 million fraud scheme involving two of its employees, according to a federal indictment made public on Monday.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said a grand jury handed up a multiple count indictment against Jeffrey Gibbs, 55, of Farmer City and Kara Wilkey, 45, of Maroa. They worked for Mid Illinois Boats Inc., doing businesses as Clinton Marine II.
The indictment says Gibbs and Wilkey ran day-to-day operations at Clinton Marine II dealerships in East Peoria and Weldon. They allegedly defrauded their employer, banks, and customers of more than $2 million and spent the money on cars, vacations, credit cards, utilities, and shopping.
“The fraud allegedly included obtaining loans on fictitious boats and on false transactions; taking out loans using forged signatures; selling boats on behalf of customers but not paying off the customers loan or remitting payment to the seller; and, collecting payment for taxes, titles and fees, but failing to pay those expenses,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
If convicted, Gibbs and Wilkey face up to 30 years in prison on each of three bank fraud charges, and up to 20 years behind bars on each of 11 charges of wire and mail fraud. They’re also charged three counts of aggravated identity theft, each carrying penalties of up to two years in prison.
Prosecutors said the charges are the result of an investigation by the FBI, the DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and the Illinois Secretary of State.