EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) – Brian Holtz, the former director of the Evansville Parks Department has been criminally charged.
Holtz resigned last year after the city’s finance department found questionable invoices.
Holtz is charged with forgery, fraud, official misconduct, and counterfeiting.
An arrest warrant was obtained Evansville Financial Crimes Detectives Monday morning for Holtz.
Evansville Police said Holtz was made aware of the arrest warrant and turned himself in. He is being booked into the Vanderburgh County Confinement Center.
“I am both saddened and angered at what’s occurred,” said Mayor Lloyd Winnecke.
According to Evansville Police, Holtz is accused of counterfeiting invoices or purchase orders, forging signatures, and entering contracts when he wasn’t authorized to do so. One incident is said to have taken place in 2018. Investigators say he took out a $268,000 loan for construction of Mickey’s Kingdom, even though he was not authorized to do so.
“This loan, incurred over $14,000 in interest and late fees while Holtz delayed, having the Evansville Parks Foundation, a nonprofit, handling donations for Evansville Parks, to pay the loan,” said Det. Nathan VanCleave of the Evansville Police Dept.
Police also allege there were several counterfeited invoices for payment of construction of the Deaconess Aquatic Center. One of those happened last April, when Holtz allegedly changed the amount on a payment from $387,000 to $402,000. Police say they found similar incidents connected to work at city golf courses and boat ramps.
“The investigation did not show any evidence of Holtz personally benefiting financially through these crimes,” said Det. VanCleave. “However, the controller’s office has conservatively estimated these costs due to these crimes committed by Holtz to be over $360,000.”
Sergeant Anna Gray says investigators are still trying to figure out why he did it.
“It’s one of those things where what motivates somebody, we don’t always know unless they tell us. At this point, we don’t know the why,” she said.
The investigation started last July after workers at Deig Brothers called the city about a wrong amount on one of their invoices. Officials say they asked Holtz about it. But Holtz claimed someone else in his office changed the amount. The other person denied that.
“She said she had never admitted wrongdoing to Holtz. She additionally said that Holtz had called her to tell her to tell her to be vague if the police came and talk to her,” recalled Det. VanCleave.
He also said Holtz denies any wrongdoing.
“When detectives attempted to question him further, he stated again he knew nothing, and had nothing further to add,” he added.
The irregular invoices are part of what authorities say is a list of 158 incidents going back to 2017. Police interviewed 40 witnesses and issued 20 subpoenas during the investigation. Holtz resigned last summer after the investigation started. Police say the amount on the questionable contracts adds up to $13 million. Eight of the 12 counts Holtz faces involve counterfeiting charges, including one incident where he allegedly misspelled the name of a person whose signature he was forging.
“In these eight incidents selected, Holtz used counterfeited invoices and or purchase orders to conduct business with various entities,” said Det. VanCleave.
Mayor Winnecke says the city has implemented new measures to keep such incidents from happening again. Those measures include requiring two signatures on invoices to the Parks Foundation, and decentralizing the process.
“We think that changing those, make those internal control practices, we hope we will be able to have those not repeated,” he said.
We also reached out to Holtz for comment, but he did not return our requests.
You can read the affidavit below.