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Town officials now face federal charges

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Some former Chesterfield town employees accused by the Indiana Attorney General of defrauding their town government now face federal charges.

Christopher Parrish, of Chesterfield; James Kimm, Joseph Brown, and Willard A. Felts, all of Anderson, were indicted by a grand jury in U.S. District Court Tuesday for theft of federal program funds following an investigation by the FBI and Indiana State Police. Felts wasn't named in the state suit.

An Oct. 26, 2009, audit by the State Board of Accounts found Parrish, Kimm, Brown, and brothers Christopher and James Walters defrauded taxpayers out of nearly $260,000 by getting paid for false mileage reimbursement claims and other phony claims, as well as hours they never worked in 2007 and 2008. The state filed charges against the men and two insurers in late November seeking repayment of the public funds and payment of employee-theft insurance Chesterfield took out on the employees in 2007 and 2008.

At the time of the scheme, Parrish was the town's clerk-treasurer; Kimm was a town marshal; Brown was a part-time police officer, and Felts allowed Parrish to use his name to create false invoices. Christopher and James Walters were town maintenance employees who were paid for repair work they never did.

The men face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count; Parrish is charged with three; Kimm faces two charges; and Brown and Felts each face one count.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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