Secretary of State Crook Sentenced to 18 Months

From the U.S. Attorney in Springfield:

Former Administrator, Supervisor of Illinois Secretary of State Department of Vehicle Services Sentenced for Fraud Scheme 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A former administrator and supervisor for the Illinois Secretary of State’s Department of Vehicle Services, Candace Faye Wanzo, 58, of Centralia, Ill., has been ordered to serve 18 months in federal prison for defrauding the Secretary of State’s Office and the Illinois Department of Revenue.

During the video conference hearing on May 6, 2021, U.S. District Judge Sue E. Myerscough ordered Wanzo to pay restitution and that she remain on supervised release for three years following completion of her prison term.

Wanzo pleaded guilty on Nov. 13, 2020, to one count each of mail fraud, misapplication of government funds, and theft of government funds.

Wanzo was responsible for operation of the Public Service Center in the Howlett Building, in Springfield, Ill., where, among other services, vehicle owners pay title and registration fees, apply and pay for license plates, and make sales tax payments related to vehicle sales.

Wanzo admitted that from March 2015 to April 2017, she stole title and registration fees and sales tax payments and replaced the stolen funds with title and registration fees from other vehicle owners. 

As a result, Wanzo misapplied approximately $300,000 in title and registration fees to conceal fees that she had previously stolen.

She also admitted to using the United Parcel Service (UPS) rather than the U.S. Mail to deliver license plates to conceal the delay caused by her having to locate and use other funds to replace stolen funds. 

Wanzo was allowed to self-report to begin serving her sentence on a date to be determined by the federal Bureau of Prisons.

The FBI – Springfield Division investigated the case with the assistance of the Illinois Secretary of State Inspector General’s Office which referred the matter to federal law enforcement.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris represented the government in the prosecution.


Secretary of State Crook Sentenced to 18 Months — 9 Comments

  1. I’m sure she was just following suit like all the others there…

  2. The old Paul Powell trick…just have all money’s checks/cash/otherwise, routed through me first. In Powells case he had the nerve to have his own name be the one Drivers back then made all checks out to. He’d take the checks and cash to the bank himself, or at least the ones he decided to. She kind of did the same thing here, just figured out an inhouse route to get moneys to her first and then played her own Ponzi like scheme…

    She probably likes Cream Corn too–look it up, one of Powells favorites, stacked up high right next to the cash filled shoeboxes stacked in the HOtel room he lived, and died in.

  3. When Republican Edmund Kucharski took over from Paul Powell, his assistant found checks made out to Powell in Powell’s Capitol desk drawer.

  4. That’s hardly any time for stealing 300 k.

    Commoners who steal 3k probably get more time than that.

    Maybe people who steal from taxpayers should get executed.

  5. The bigger crime is that top officials, including that ghost payroller, Jesse White HAD to have known about her prior troubles involving the embezzlement of a similar amount from a state university where she was bursar.

    White, who is never seen in the SOS offices said that they knew nothing about it and this comes as surprise.


    Somebody in the SOS offices got pissed when the merely moved her around and dropped a dime on her to the Feds.
    Would that it happened more often!

  6. Let’s hope the Feds nail Madigan (and Jacko)

    Illinois politicians cashing in on little-known pension perk
    Ben Bradley
    May 11, 2021 / 08:53 PM CDT WGN Investigates
    Posted: / Updated: May 11, 2021 / 09:28 PM CDT

    Thanks to a little-known pension perk, some former Illinois lawmakers are earning more in retirement than they did while in office.

    WGN Investigates identified more than 40 politicians that are benefitting from the bump. The group includes former House Speaker Michael Madigan.

    The perk, passed back in 1989, allows he and others to bank 3 percent pension payment increases for every year they spent in office, after 20 years or age 55.

    Madigan retired this year amid an ongoing federal probe into allegations of statehouse bribery.

    His starting pension is $85,000. But next year, when the bump kicks in, his benefit will increase 75 percent to $148,000, records show. His last year in office he was paid $97,000.

    In all, Illinois’ five statewide pension plans have unfunded liabilities of more than $140 billion. That ranks among the worst in the nation.

    Compared to that massive debt load, the politicians’ perk amounts to a drop in the bucket.

    But we found one former lawmaker who was so against the idea, he tried to return the money to the state.

    “It shouldn’t be there,” says former state Rep. Don Moffitt, a Republican from Galesburg. “This is public service.”

    The perk has since been ended. But politicians elected before 2003 are still cashing in.

    “They’re going to earn more in pensions than they did working,” says Sheila Weinberg, CEO of Truth in Accounting, a Chicago-based government financial watchdog.

    And it’s up to taxpayers to foot the bill.

    “I do not, unfortunately, even though I live in Illinois, have hope for Illinois,” Weinberg says.

  7. Sec. of state crook……. isn’t that a redundancy.

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