A former Bement school superintendent is suspected of starting his own shadow company and embezzling $250,000 from the Meridian school district.
Daniel Brue resigned as Meridian superintendent on July 26, telling the school board, “I apologize for putting the district in a poor light and hope that the district can move on from this ordeal.”
He was the school superintendent in Bement from 2009 to 2013 prior to taking the top post at Meridian.
Court documents for a search and seizure warrant filed by Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Brian Schenkelberg lists details of the investigation. Under the probable cause section, the filing said suspicion was cast upon Brue by auditors, “who had received a tip from a MCSD employee.”
“They (auditors) confronted Brue on July 26, 2019. According to their summary, Brue confessed and stated, 'I created the fake invoices and took the payments and deposited them into a PNC bank account in my name via mobile banking,'” said the document asking for FBI officials to be allowed to conduct a forensic examination of Brue's Apple iPhone X.
Brue set up a company called Ideal Consulting and Construction Services and submitted fake invoices to the Meridian school district, which were then paid and deposited, according to the warrant request.
The phone had been collected in August by the FBI and has been in that agency's custody since that time. The search and seizure warrant was approved by Urbana-based Federal Magistrate Judge Eric I. Long. It allows authorities to search the phone for:
–all bank records, checks, credit card bills, account information and all other financial records;
–any information regarding Ideal Consulting and Construction Services, including invoices; and
–any communication regarding the alleged embezzlement.
The affidavit supporting the warrant notes that Schenkelberg is a Certified Public Accountant registered in Iowa.
Current Bement Superintendent Sheila Greenwood said the district has passed along records to federal authorities from the time Brue worked there.
“Bement turned over all of our documentation, including any evidence, to the FBI. We have been working with the FBI for several months,” said Greenwood.
He was also a village board member in Bement for about a year before resigning in March of 2014.
No charges have been filed against Brue at this point.