BETHALTO — A former Bethalto fire chief and zoning administrator was indicted by a grand jury June 2 on four counts of official misconduct and one count of health care benefits fraud.
According to a Bethalto Police Department release, in October 2015 police initiated an investigation of former fire chief, zoning administrator and code enforcement officer Richard Mersinger, 39. Mersinger resigned his official appointments at an October 2015 Village Board meeting. The village discovered discrepancies involving occupancy permit inspections. Investigators found there were at least 140 suspected fraudulent inspections, four of which were documented on non-existing addresses. As code enforcement officer, Mersinger was responsible for these inspections.
The investigation also found Mersinger was granted a divorce in Madison County Circuit Court in 2011. Bethalto police allege Mersinger fraudulently continued to receive for his former spouse four years of health care benefits provided by the village of Bethalto in excess of $20,000.
Bond was set at $15,000. Mersinger was taken into custody Monday morning by Bethalto police and subsequently released on bond.