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AG files suit against former town employees

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The Indiana Attorney General filed a suit Monday against former Chesterfield town officials seeking recovery of more than $259,000 in public funds they allegedly defrauded from the town government.

The charges were filed following an Oct. 26, 2009, certified audit by the State Board of Accounts examiners who discovered that the five officials defrauded the town of nearly $260,000. The AG is seeking recovery of the funds from former town clerk-treasurer and town manager Christopher Parrish; former town marshal James Kimm; former part-time Chesterfield police officer Joseph Brown, Kimm's half-brother; former town maintenance superintendent Christopher Walter; and Walter's brother James, who is also a former town maintenance employee.

The men are accused of getting paid by filing false mileage reimbursement claims, phony automotive-repair and building-repair claims, and for hours they never worked, among other claims.

The State Board of Accounts audit found Parrish and others got away with the scheme without the knowledge of the Chesterfield Town Council. The audit focused on records from Jan. 1, 2007, to Jan. 31, 2009.

The men are charged with several counts, including misappropriation of funds, unauthorized or wrongful payment of funds, and unauthorized payments. The state is also seeking treble damages.

Also charged in the suit are Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland and Ohio Casualty which had executed bonds to Parrish during the time examined by the audit. The state seeks payment of the employee-theft insurance the town had on the employees, and to redeem surety bonds obtained on Parrish and Kimm.

The lawsuit is a part of a stepped-up effort by Attorney General Greg Zoeller to fight public corruption and misuse of tax dollars by elected officials and government employees.

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