HENDERSON, Ky (WEHT) – A federal grand jury has indicted a Pigeon Township Trustee and two co-conspirators on five counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to a release from the United States Attorney’s Office Southern District of Indiana, Mariama Wilson, 50; William Payne, 49; and Terrance Hardiman, 32, all of Evansville were charged in an indictment unsealed on April 26, following the three defendants’ arrests and initial appearances. In addition to the above listed charges, Hardiman was also charged with one count of money laundering.
According to the release, Wilson and Payne agreed to hire Hardiman and his business, Hardiman Construction LLC, in February 2020 to remodel a homeless shelter and develop a food pantry in exchange for Hardiman agreeing to kick back a portion of the funds he received from the Trustee’s Office to Wilson and Payne. The indictment alleges Wilson and Payne caused the Trustee’s Office to pay inflated invoices that were submitted by Hardiman for the construction projects, and then pocketed the inflated amounts.
Authorities say Wilson, Payne and Hardiman visited the homeless shelter and food pantry together, and during those visits, they identified specific projects that needed to be completed. Wilson, Payne and Hardiman allegedly discussed how much the projects should cost and by how much Hardiman should inflate those costs to cover the kickbacks to Wilson and Payne. The group allegedly agreed to inflate the total amount billed in each invoice by $1,000 to $2,000.
In total, between February 11, 2020 and May 16, 2022, the Trustee’s Office paid Hardiman approximately $215,371 for the homeless shelter and food pantry projects and as a result of the kickback schemes, Myers says Wilson and Payne received approximately $38,000.
If convicted, Wilson, Payne and Hardiman face up to 20 years in federal prison and up to three years of supervised release each, as well as a fine. You can read the full indictment in the window below:
This is a developing story.