Muncie government employee, contractor face federal corruption allegations

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INDIANAPOLIS – A "multi-year and ongoing" federal investigation has led to two arrests, including a Muncie government employee.

In a press release, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Debra Nicole "Nikki" Grigsby and Tony Franklin were arrested on Tuesday.

Grigsby is administrator for the Muncie Sanitary District. Franklin owns Franklin Building and Design.

The indictments accuse the pair of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, making false statements, and falsification of documents in a federal investigation.

U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said the arrests were part of a FBI investigation into kickbacks in exchange for public works projects and related alleged corruption.

Minkler said the investigation has led to at least four other federal prosecutions.

“Public servants need to serve the public instead of serving themselves,” said Minkler. “When someone betrays the public’s trust by stealing tax dollars for personal enrichment, my office will identify, investigate and, if the evidence supports a charge, prosecute the individual who violates that sacred trust.”

Minkler said Grigsby has been in her current role since 2013, and approved the selection of contractors for district projects. She is accused of steering contracts to Franklin in exchange for kickbacks.

“The indictment and arrest of these two individuals is one more step in an ongoing investigation to identify any and all public officials or private citizens who have committed federal crimes and victimized the tax paying citizens of Muncie, Indiana,” said Grant Mendenhall, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Division. “Investigating public officials who exploit their official position for personal gain and erode the public’s confidence in government is one of the FBI’s top criminal priorities and is the sole purpose of the Indiana Public Corruption Task Force.”

Grigsby, 44, Muncie, and Franklin, 60, Yorktown, were scheduled for a initial court appearance Wednesday afternoon. They each face up to 20 years’ imprisonment if convicted on all charges.

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