As the investigation into alleged wrong-doing by former Warsaw Street Superintendent Lacy Francis continues, his wife has now been arrested and charged in connection with the crime.
Mildred “Millie” Francis, 56, was taken into custody Tuesday on six Class D felony charges of money laundering.
The investigation into the theft of approximately $267,571 from the city of Warsaw began in December via a tip that Lacy Francis was working with Marc Campbell, owner of Pro-Form Pipe Lining Co. in Mishawaka, to defraud the city out of the money. In short, Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer said, “They were billing for work and repairs that wasn’t done.” (See related)
Francis resigned his position with the city in January and was arrested two months later, charged with felony theft, corruption and providing false information to a government entity. (See related)
Mildred Francis was arrested by Warsaw Police yesterday for her alleged involvement. According to court documents, she and Lacy separately invested large sums of money into a company commonly known to operate as a Ponzi scheme. In short, investors put in a money with the false promise that they are paying into valid investments.
The total payments made to the company, known as Rex Venture Group LLC, was $78,820. The investments, made mostly by family members of the couple, each ranged from $9,650 to $9,900. According to those who made the investments, Lacy provided the cash funds to each individual for the purpose of making the investments.
Mildred was interviewed by police about the case involving stolen funds from the city. She told investigators she was not sure where her husband was getting the money, but said it may have been from an illegal marijuana grow operation he has invested in.
In drafting the money laundering charges against Mildred Francis, investigators learned from her interviews that she was the one controlling the investment accounts of five of the individuals as well as her own. She was allegedly responsible for withdrawing money and moving it to different accounts in a way to “clean” or “launder” it.
Each of the six charges is a Class D felony, punishable by from 6 months to 3 years in jail and a $10,000 fine per occurrence.
Mildred Francis was being held on a $5,000 surety bond in the Kosciusko County Jail.
Lacy Francis has entered a not guilty plea in his case. His next court date is June 9 for a pretrial conference.