Two men, one a former employee of the Iowa Deptartment of Transportation, have been arrested and charged with embezzling vast sums of money from the department.
David Weigel, 56, of Nevada, was arrested Saturday and charged with first-degree theft, conspiracy to commit theft, ongoing criminal conduct, money laundering and felonious misconduct in office. Also arrested was Grady Marx, 59, of Sioux City. He is charged with first-degree theft, conspiracy to commit a felony, ongoing criminal conduct and money laundering.
The two allegedly stole $407,430 in various transactions over several years.
The investigation was conducted over the past year-and-a-half by the recently created Iowa Financial Investigation Team of the Iowa Department of Public Safety.
According to its report, Weigel allegedly sold DOT land and kept part of the proceeds. He also allegedly pocketed money from mowing contracts that was intended to be paid to the department. Weigel, who was employed at the DOT from 1995 to 2011, oversaw land acquisitions and sales as well as leasing and renting of DOT-owned areas.
The report includes numerous cases where Weigel allegedly asked people purchasing land to write two checks — one to the DOT and the other to himself. In other cases, the report claims that Weigel asked land purchasers to write two checks, with the second one going to Marx.
The report also states that the DOT issued checks for mowing services that allegedly were not performed. The recipient of that money then allegedly funneled it back to Weigel or one of his family members.
Investigator Adam DeCamp of the Dept. of Public Safety noted in the report that he expects further investigation will reveal that Weigel and Marx allegedly stole much more than the $407,430 contained in the report.
Gerard Meyers, assistant director of the Iowa Dept. of Criminal Investigations, agreed, noting that his office received a few calls Monday from people who had business dealings with Weigel. While Meyers feels his department "has a pretty good handle" on the number of suspect transactions he admits that there are potentially others yet to be discovered.
Law enforcement is also not finished sorting through a trove of information seized in multiple searches on Saturday morning. Four buildings were searched — Weigel’s home in Nevada, a home in Ankeny allegedly purchased by Weigel with stolen money, Marx’ home in Sioux City and a business in Sioux City owned by Marx. Trucks, cars, bank account information and other items were taken and could lead to additional charges or arrests of additional people.
Meyers said the raids were "strategically executed on a Saturday for reasons we’re not going to be releasing."
Representatives of the DOT said Director Paul Trombino would not answer questions about the case.
The Iowa Financial Investigation Team includes members from the offices of: the Iowa Attorney General, United States Attorney, State of Iowa Auditor, Homeland Security Investigations, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Dept. of Inspections and Appeals, Iowa Dept. of Revenue, Iowa Insurance Fraud Bureau, Iowa Division of Banking, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Iowa Dept. of Public Safety.
Also assisting in Saturday’s enforcement efforts were the Nevada Police Department, Story County Sheriff’s Office, Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office, Sioux City Police Department, Ankeny Police Department and the Iowa Department of Transportation.
Meyers hopes that the team will better be able to pursue various financial fraud cases that rely on individual agencies.