Former Illinois society treasurer pleads guilty to $100,000 fraud scheme


BENTON, Ill. – A former treasurer for the Perry County Agricultural Society (PCAS) has admitted taking thousands of dollars from the PCAS organization.

Billy E. Harris, 48, St. Louis, served as PCAS’ treasurer from 2011 through October 2018. The organization operates all festivals at the Perry County Fairgrounds in Pinckneyville, Illinois, including the Perry County Fair, according to A press release. statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

On Friday, January 14, Harris pleaded guilty to defrauding PCAS out of more than $100,000 from June 5, 2012 to October 3, 2018. The money was used for personal expenses and items purchased from Amazon with electronic debits of the PCAS bank account.

Items purchased by Harris included a WiFi router, Apple AirPods, a Himalayan salt lamp air purifier, personalized Star Wars Darth Vader and Yoda pet tags, a pair of men’s sleep pants Star Wars, a floating pool fountain, a CPAP tube cleaning brush and men. grooming products, including beard lube, according to the press release.

He also admitted to having written checks on the PCAS account payable to himself and his wife and to having forged the signature of a member of the board of directors for these checks.

Harris’ sentencing is set for May 5 at 1:30 p.m. He could face up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and a supervised release period of up to three years, according to the press release.

Harris could also be ordered to pay full restitution to PCAS.

The St. Louis office of the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Pinckneyville Police Department investigated the case. The Perry County State’s Attorney’s Office also participated in the investigation.


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