AP NEWS

Court filing lays out Collins’ argument for appeal

February 22, 2019

Recently filed court documents by the attorney for former Kankakee Valley Park District Executive Director Roy Collins reveal his argument to appeal Collins’ sentence on federal mail and wire fraud charges.

U.S. District Chief Judge James E. Shadid sentenced Collins to 3½ years in federal prison on Jan. 11 in Urbana.

After his release, Collins will be on probation for two years.

Shadid set Feb. 26 as the day Collins must report to begin serving his sentence. Collins’ attorney, Gregory T. Mitchell, recommended the facility in Terre Haute, Ind. It is a minimum security prison.

An email was sent to Mitchell on Wednesday.

Collins’ motion to appeal without payment of usual fees was filed Feb. 13. Shadid granted the motion the next day.

The appeal will be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals Seventh District in Chicago.

There are three issues Mitchell intends to raise, according to the filing:

• Whether the district court erred when it determined the loss amount attributable to the defendant in calculating the applicable sentencing guidelines range.

• Whether the district court erred when it determined the most appropriate and applicable sentencing guideline provision to determine the base offense level.

• Whether the district court erred when it denied defendant’s motion to dismiss the indictment, or in the alternative, to withdraw his guilty plea.

The charges against Collins span from early 2012, when prosecutors allege unauthorized credit card purchases started, until early 2016, when prosecutors say Collins started creating false documents to conceal the theft from the Kankakee Valley Park Foundation.

Prosecutors were able to bring federal charges for mail fraud because Collins wrote a $3,008 check to Sky Group to purchase a pond liner for his home. The use of his park district credit card for a $234 pair of boots from Boot Country in Nashville, Tenn., gave prosecutors the ability to bring charges of wire fraud.

Collins also was accused of taking money from BBQ Fest receipts in 2014 and 2015. A bank loan of $25,000 was alleged to have been used by Collins to cover up his financial dealings.

Restitution amount

How much Collins will have to reimburse the park district and the Kankakee Valley Park Foundation is yet to be decided.

On the day of Collins’ sentencing, Shadid allowed both sides to file their positions on the amount at a later date.

Prosecutors filed their position on Feb. 2 and are asking that the court make Collins repay the park district and the foundation $165,540.30.

That figure includes money Collins is alleged to have taken from the now defunct BBQ Fest, funds spent on building a pond on his Kankakee home and more than $42,604.30 for credit card expenses not reported to the park district board.

They also are asking Collins repay Municipal Bank for a $25,000 loan and the interest accrued that prosecutors allege he used to cover up missing funds.

In response, Mitchell argues Collins should have to repay $13,365 with the majority for the pond project.

According to the document filed Feb. 11, Mitchell argues that under the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act, “restitution is available to victims to the extent that it would have been available had the victims pursued a civil suit against the criminal. ... When the victims are seeking to recover their losses from a defendant, they must ‘prove that the defendant caused the loss,” and “show that the loss would not have occurred but for [the defendant’s] misconduct.’”