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Business Owner Pleads Guilty to False Claims Which Caused Overpayments of $500,000

On November 17, 2008, Robert Sullinger pled guilty in U.S. District Court, Springfield, Illinois, to charges that include violations of false, fictitious, or fraudulent claims; theft concerning programs receiving Federal funds; false statements; and fraud. Mr. Sullinger’s company, The Great Plains Group, LLC, submitted a proposal to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to use National Highway Traffic Safety Administration–provided grant funds to produce and to post anti–drunk driving billboards throughout the State of Illinois. In total, between January 1999 and September 2004, more than $1.5 million in Federal funds were paid through IDOT to Mr. Sullinger and his business. Mr. Sullinger knowingly submitted false and fraudulent invoices by overstating the number of billboards that were produced and posted. As a result, Mr. Sullinger and his business were overpaid by more than $500,000.