Former local broadband official gets two years prison for fraud scheme

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A federal judge this week sentenced a former municipal employee from the city of Rochelle, Illinois, to two years in prison after he stole more than $150,000 from the regional broadband association of which he served as treasurer.

Scott Koteski, 58, pleaded guilty in March to wire fraud, admitting that between 2012 and 2018, he diverted more than $150,000 from the Illinois Municipal Broadband Communications Association — a coalition of local governments in northern Illinois, including Rochelle — to a personal account for his own use.

According to court documents, Koteski had been named to represent Rochelle on the association’s board and elected in 2011 to serve as its treasurer. In February 2012, he got access to the group’s finances and signatory authority on its bank account. That September, prosecutors said, he started writing himself numerous checks from the group’s account in a scheme that ran through April 2018.

In his plea agreement, Koteski admitted he used the money to pay off credit cards and other personal debt, while writing off the association’s checks as reimbursements for expenses on behalf of the broadband association. Koteski used the association’s credit card in early 2018 to make payments on his personal card balance, which were traced to a payment processing server in Richmond, Virginia, court documents stated.

Along with Rochelle, a city of about 9,200 residents situated 80 miles west of Chicago, the Illinois Municipal Broadband Communications Association includes 11 other cities, the government of Kane County, Illinois, and Northern Illinois University. Fifteen local telecommunications firms are also listed as members on the association’s website, which does not appear to have been updated since 2010.

In addition to the two years in prison, Koteski was ordered to repay $150,332.17.

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Broadband, fraud, Illinois, Scott Koteski
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