SPRINGFIELD, IL — A federal judge in Springfield on Wednesday released a 57-year-old Centralia woman on a $10,000 recognizance bond following her initial appearance on an indictment accusing her of defrauding the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office and Illinois Department of Revenue out of nearly $350,000.
Candace Wanzo, a former high-level employee of the Secretary of State’s Office, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to all five counts of the federal indictment.
Wanzo is accused of stealing title and registration fees and sales tax payments made to her office and then concealing the theft by replacing stolen funds with title and registration fees from other vehicle owners.
The indictment also alleges she used the United Parcel Service (UPS) rather than the U.S. Mail to deliver license plates to conceal the delay caused by Wanzo having to locate and use other funds to replace stolen funds.
If convicted, Wanzo could face up to 20 years in prison on each count of two counts fraud and up to 10 years in prison for each of three counts of theft.
Wanzo was placed on administrative leave in May 2017, when an investigation was launched by the Office of the Inspector general.
An initial pretrial conference in the case is scheduled for July 17. At the time the investigation was launched, Wanzo was an administrator in the vehicles division and has worked for the Secretary of State’s Office since 1999, and earned more than $87,000 annually.
According to court records, Wanzo pleaded guilty in 1991 to embezzling more than $230,000 from Southern Illinois University while she was employed there.