Former Rockford energy director sentenced to prison for fraud

Mark Bixby
Mark Bixby

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

A federal judge ruled Monday, March 10, that a former Rockford staffer must serve 14 months in prison for illegally obtaining more than $50,000 from two victims while he was employed by the city.

Mark Bixby, 58, of Rockton, Ill., admitted last fall to bilking a heating contractor and window contractor out of more than $53,000 between November 2006 and March 2010. Both contractors did work for Bixby when he was the City of Rockford’s energy director, in charge of the home weatherization program for low-income families.

Bixby was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Frederick Kapala to serve three year’s probation and pay restitution in the amount of $41,618.33.

According to a plea agreement, Bixby used the illegal funds to purchase a 2007 Pontiac Solstice and for various personal expenses. Bixby deposited $18,444 in bank accounts he claimed were used to donate to charity but later admitted to using the cash to pay bills. He received $2,980 when he sold a cemetery plot he didn’t own to the heating contractor and a $2,000 loan from the window contractor that was never repaid.

Bixby was placed on administrative leave in 2010 and retired at the onset of the investigation.
In March 2010, Bixby was his mother’s guardian when the Highview in the Woodlands nursing home filed a complaint against him for misappropriation of funds. In that case, Bixby was ordered to pay back his mother’s estate more than $270,000.
Bixby was remanded to the custody of U.S. Marshals following Monday’s sentencing.
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