URBANA, Ill. (WAND) - A former central Illinois school leader will serve time in federal prison for embezzling money from two districts.
Daniel Brue, 48, is the former superintendent of the Bement Community Unit School District No. 5, and later the Meridian Community Unit School District No. 15. He embezzled funds from both districts by creating and registering a fake company and fraudulently invoicing the school districts for work never performed. Money was stolen from 2011 to 2019.
Brue must serve two years and nine months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. He was sentenced on July 19 for four counts of wire fraud.
Brue must pay $343,009.52 in restitution.
U.S. District Court Judge Colin S. Bruce noted Brue's scheme was not "simple" and he worked to conceal the thefts. Bruce said Brue's actions could have a "long-term, detrimental impact" on school districts because the funds could have been used to help children.
Brue, who currently lives in Virginia, Ill., was permitted to remain on bond prior to reporting to the Bureau of Prisons in order to serve his sentence.
“School superintendents and other public servants serve as leaders and role models to students and the community at large,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Douglas J. Quivey. “When they abuse the public trust, prosecution serves to restore the trust and reminds us all that public misconduct will not be tolerated.”
“School districts, especially those in our rural areas, count on every penny to provide a quality education for their students,” said Sean M. Cox, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge, Springfield Division. “Over the span of 8 years, Daniel Brue embezzled school funds, funds which could have been put toward valuable supplies for the students and staff. Mr. Brue deprived students, and the educators teaching them, from having all available resources to provide the best educational experience, and that can never be replaced. This sentence sends a clear message that the FBI will continue to dedicate our investigative resources to stop anyone who engages in fraudulent activity to deprive others.”
Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Field Office, investigated the case. The government was represented in prosecution by Assistant United States Attorneys Rachel Ritzer and Melissa Moody.