Beginning at 9:00 AM this morning, law enforcement from multiple state, local and federal agencies executed Operation Landlord with search warrants at four different locations in Story, Polk and Woodbury Counties. Additionally, two individuals were arrested for allegedly stealing more than $407,430 from the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT).
Today, 56 year old David Weigel of Nevada, Iowa was charged with Theft in the First Degree, Conspiracy to Commit Theft, On-going Criminal Conduct, Money Laundering and Felonious Misconduct in Office. Fifty-nine year old Grady Marx of Sioux City, Iowa was also arrested and charged with Theft in the First Degree, Conspiracy to Commit a Felony, On-going Criminal Conduct, and Money Laundering.
Weigel is currently being held at the Polk County jail on $55,000 bond. Marx was booked through the Woodbury County Jail and posted his $50,000 bond shortly thereafter.
The arrests of Weigel and Marx are the result of a two-year long investigation that included a detailed review of hundreds of financial records. On July 7, 2011, DOT Director Paul Trombino requested the assistance of the Iowa Department of Public Safety to investigate suspicious activity involving land sales, land leases and mowing contracts for Iowa DOT land. Through the course of the investigation a team of officers and prosecutors trained to investigate financial crimes was assembled from multiple agencies. The newly formed Iowa Financial Investigation Team (IFIT) discovered through document review and witness interviews that beginning in 1997, David Wiegel used his employment within DOT to personally, financially benefit from his position. Weigel is accused of selling DOT land to various individuals and companies while keeping a portion of the funds. Additionally, he is accused of charging various individuals for maintaining DOT lands, and personally retaining those monies. David Weigel received at least $239,832 of money that was intended for the DOT.
Also through the investigation, IFIT revealed that Grady Marx conspired with David Weigel to deprive the DOT of at least $237,360. Marx is accused of receiving payment for the sale of land belonging to the DOT, as well funneling money to Weigel after receiving payment from DOT for the mowing of DOT lands, a business arrangement facilitated by Weigel.
During today’s enforcement effort, search warrants were executed at four different locations. Items seized as a result of the search warrants include multiple bank accounts, as well as several cars, trucks and motorcycles. Investigative information suggests these items were purchased with money stolen from the DOT by Weigel or Marx.
IFIT is requesting the public’s assistance in this case. Individuals who have made check or cash payments to David Weigel, or to individuals or companies other than the DOT, for the purchase or rent of DOT land, may have information that can assist law enforcement in this case. Please call the IFIT office at 515-725-6290.
Page 2 of 2 - This large scale investigation and resulting search warrants and arrests were executed by a team of investigators from multiple agencies. As crimes like elder fraud, money laundering, and theft continue through the use of online banking, the internet, and traditional means of concealment, IFIT will strive to investigate the misuse of both public and private monies. Participating agencies include: Iowa Attorney General’s Office, United States Attorney’s Office-Southern District of Iowa, State of Iowa Auditor’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Inspections and Appeals, Iowa Department of Revenue, Iowa Insurance Fraud Bureau, Iowa Division of Banking, US Postal Inspection Service and the Iowa Department of Public Safety
Also assisting in today’s enforcement efforts are the Nevada Police Department, Story County Sheriff’s Office, Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office, Sioux City Police Department, Ankeny Police Department, and the Iowa Department of Transportation.
It should be noted a criminal charges is merely an accusation and all suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.