Former Perry County Agricultural Society treasurer pleads guilty to fraud | USAO-SDIL

Benton, Illinois – This morning in federal court in Benton, Illinois, Billy E. Harris, the former treasurer of the Perry County Agricultural Society (“PCAS”), pleaded guilty to defrauding PCAS of more than 100 $000.

PCAS manages all festivals at the Perry County Fairgrounds in Pinckneyville, including the Perry County Fairgrounds. Harris, 48, currently of St. Louis, MO, served as Treasurer of PCAS from 2011 to October 2018. When appearing in court this morning, Harris admitted that from June 5, 2012 to October 3, 2018, he had defrauded PCAS out of more than $100,000. Specifically, Harris admitted to having paid for his personal expenses and purchased items for his personal use by direct debit from PCAS’ bank account. Many of these items were purchased through Amazon. Some of the items Harris admitted to purchasing with PCAS funds include a WiFi router, Apple AirPods, a Himalayan salt lamp air purifier, personalized Star Wars Darth Vader pet tags and Yoda, a pair of Star Wars men’s sleep pants, a floating pool fountain, a CPAP tube cleaning brush, and men’s grooming products including beard lube. Harris also admitted to writing checks on the PCAS account payable to himself and his wife, and to forging a board member’s signature on those checks.

Harris will be sentenced May 5, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. The mail fraud charge Harris was convicted of carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 and a period of supervised supervision. release up to 3 years. In addition, Harris may be ordered to pay full restitution to PCAS.

The St. Louis office of the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Pinckneyville Police Department investigated the case. The Perry County State’s Attorney’s Office also participated in the investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney Scott Verseman is being prosecuted in the case.

Amalia H. Mercado