Former suburban water district board president charged with stealing $30K

SHARE Former suburban water district board president charged with stealing $30K

A former west suburban water board president has been charged with stealing more than $30,000 in funds from the district, eventually forcing the district into foreclosure.

Mark McDonald, 57, faces 15 counts of disposal and conversion of property, three counts of filing a false tax return, and one count of making a false statement, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

McDonald was the president of the Moecherville Water District, a not-for-profit corporation that supplies water to homes in the Moecherville neighborhood of Aurora, according to a statement from federal prosecutors. He was responsible for depositing customers’ payments into the water district’s bank account and paying district bills.

On 15 separate occasions between July and October 2010, McDonald stole water district funds and converted it to his own accounts, prosecutors said.

Between April 2005 and 2006, the water district received $2.7 million in loans for reconstruction of water distribution facilities, according to the statement. The district secured the loans by mortgaging and pledging property, assets and revenues to the U.S. secretary of agriculture.

In October 2010, the government foreclosed on the water district because of failure to timely repay the reconstruction loans, and the Illinois Rural Water Association was authorized to take control of the facilities, assets and funds.

The indictment seeks forfeiture of $33,957, the total amount of property McDonald allegedly stole.

“As the board president of the Moecherville Water District, Mr. McDonald had a responsibility to water district customers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure that customer funds were handled with accountability and integrity,” Zach Fardon, U.S. attorney, said in the statement. “Mr. McDonald violated the trust of the residents . . . by stealing some of that money for his own personal use.”

McDonald, of Aurora, was arraigned Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Young Kim and released on a his own recognizance, according to the statement. He is next scheduled to appear in court April 28.

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