Former Vigo County facilities director found guilty in lucrative kickback scheme

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A former facilities director for Vigo County Schools has been convicted in a kickback scheme.

A jury found Franklin Fennell guilty on all 12 charges against him, including nine counts of wire fraud, two counts of lying to federal investigators and one count of stealing government funds.

Fennell was in charge of facilities and transportation support for the district, according to WTHI.

Federal prosecutors said he ran a kickback scheme with Mike Pick, the owner of M&P Properties, and Frank Shahadey, a former deputy sheriff with the Vigo County Sheriff’s Office who served as a security liaison for the school. Fennell and Shahadey were arrested in November 2016.

Prosecutors said Fennell and Shahadey pocketed at least $110,000 in the scheme, which involved contracts awarded to Pick’s company at inflated prices so Fennell and Shahadey could reap the rewards. Pick would get a check from the school corporation for the work from the inflated estimate, cash it and then give Fennell and Shahadey the excess cash.

Records showed the company performed more than 50 jobs for the school corporation between January 2014 and June 2016. Kickbacks for Fennell and Shahadey were never less than $500 for each job, according to court documents.

Fennell faces up to 37 months in federal prison. He awaits sentencing.

Shahadey pleaded guilty to wire fraud and theft of government funds in June. In October, he was sentenced to 16 months in prison and 2 years of supervised release.

Pick testified against Fennell during the trial and cooperated with the FBI investigation into the matter. He will face federal charges in connection with the case.