Grand Jury Indicts Official at Iowa Garbage Collection Agency


Iowa Auditor Rob Sand announces the findings of a special investigation with the FBI into $2 million of improper and unsupported disbursements at Metro Waste Authority on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Brian Powers/Des Moines Register via AP)
By 
David Pitt
The Associated Press

Des Moines, Iowa – A federal grand jury has indicted a former executive of the organization that collects trash in Des Moines and more than a dozen other communities in Iowa, a federal prosecutor in Des Moines said last week.

Jeffrey Dworek, 54, formerly of Urbandale, was the director of operations for Metro Waste Authority when he allegedly diverted more than $1 million to a company he formed. He is charged with 10 counts of mail fraud, U.S. Attorney Mark Krickbaum said.

Court documents show he was arrested in Des Moines by an FBI agent and made an initial court appearance last Friday. He was released on bond. His court-appointed public defender did not respond to a message.

A trial is scheduled for Feb. 3.

The indictment was announced a day after Iowa Auditor Rob Sand announced his office uncovered misuse of at least $1.8 million following reports from the organization’s executive director of unusual financial transactions.

Sand said his staff contacted the FBI and worked with agents on the investigation. Sand said his office was contacted in October 2018 by the Metro Waste Authority executive director who noticed financial irregularities.

Dworek is accused of setting up a company to provide services to MWA without a bidding process and paid out MWA funds for his own benefit between 2012 and 2017. He’d worked at the agency since 1996.

The use of another $458,000 paid to other vendors was considered improper because Dworek also had connections to them and accepted kickbacks.

Dworek resigned in March 2017. MWA is run by Polk County and the cities that pay fees for its services.

Sand said the case points to the importance of public bidding for large expenditures and for such organizations to have more than one person with oversight over such spending.

MWA Executive Director Michael McCoy said that he discovered and initially reported financial irregularities.

“This was a deliberate and elaborate scheme designed and carried out by a trusted former employee to misappropriate funds from the organization,” he said.

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