The City of Muncie has been under FBI investigation for more than two years. Craig Nichols, the city building commissioner, was arrested charges of wire fraud, theft and money laundering in February 2017, but the investigation is still ongoing. Andrew Smith, DN
Former building commissioner pleads guilty
Nearly 18 months have passed since Craig Nichols, the former building commissioner of Muncie, was arrested on the grounds of wire fraud and money laundering. So far, Nichols has been the only Muncie official to be indicted in the FBI’s investigation of the City of Muncie.
The investigation of Muncie’s city officials began in May 2016 following concerns of contracts awarded to companies operated by Nichols.
The investigation has borne 34 counts of criminal activity, all against Nichols. Of those 34 counts, Nichols pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering, according to a U.S. District Court document.
According to the document, the wire fraud count came after “Nichols knowingly devised and participated in a scheme to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, and by concealment of material facts.”
The other 32 counts of criminal activity were dropped in a plea deal. Now, Nichols, who will be sentenced by a U.S. District Court Nov. 29, faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the two counts, according to the maximum penalties stated in the U.S. District Court document.
That same court document also states that the “Government agrees not to bring other federal charges against the defendant based on information currently known.” However, if new information is brought forward, Nichols could be found responsible to more than the charges he pleaded guilty for.
On the grounds that Nichols continues to cooperate in the judicial processes, the government “has agreed to recommend a sentence at the lowest end of the Advisory Guideline Range as calculated by the Court at sentencing.”