Ex-Kankakee Official Sent To Prison For $2 Million Theft

KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP) — A man who stole $2 million from Kankakee and a regional wastewater agency was sentenced to nine months in federal prison and two years of home confinement.

Richard Simms, 74, acknowledged diverting money through a fraudulent software invoicing scheme.

“He stands before the court deeply remorseful for his actions and for the great pain he caused,” defense lawyer Alan Brunell said.

Simms served as director of the Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency and superintendent of Kankakee’s Environmental Services Utility.

“People gave you a standing ovation when you retired in 2018. They praised you," U.S. District Judge Colin Bruce said. "To me, you have no honor. You have no integrity.”

Simms declined to speak in court Monday. Prosecutors had asked for a 30-month prison sentence.

“We were embarrassed for having placed too much trust in Mr. Simms and for not discovering his criminal scheme sooner,” said Paul Schore, the mayor of Bourbonnais and a board member at the Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency.

Simms was head of the Kankakee Environmental Services Utility for decades.

“Simms was incredibly calculated as an engineer and as a thief. ... The betrayal, doubt and guilt that many of us at the city have felt has been overwhelming and very destructive,” said Elizabeth Kubal, Kankakee's comptroller.