Says he will pay back school, vendors

A former technology coordinator for the Blue Ridge School District has pleaded guilty to a wire fraud charge, admitting he stole about $336,376 from the school district in a scam where he ordered 100 expensive computer switches, then resold them and pocketed the money.

Federal authorities say Joshua O. Raymer, 45, of Clinton, defrauded the school district while he worked there between July of 2015 and December of 2018.

Mr. Raymer waived indictment at a hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court, Central District during a videoconference in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Tom Schanzle-Haskins.

As part of the plea deal, Mr. Raymer has agreed to pay back the money defrauded from the school district, along with about $106,200 to vendors who were never paid for an additional 28 switches he ordered.

Raymer is scheduled to be sentenced on June 21, where he could be given up to 20 years in prison.

In addition, although it is not a part of the charge that was filed, Mr. Raymer has agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $17,897 to Special Olympics Illinois, where he worked after he left Blue Ridge.

According to a press release issued Thursday by the Department of Justice, Mr. Raymer “falsely represented to a district official that computer switches had failed, and replacements were needed to maintain the district’s computer system.”

After receiving the switches, Mr. Raymer, sometimes acting under a business called “The Bored Woodworker,” contacted at least five different buyers and negotiated a purchase price for the switches that had been paid for by Blue Ridge.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Bass. The investigation was conducted by the Farmer City Police Department, with the cooperation of the school district, which referred the matter to law enforcement.

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