FORMER HIGHLAND MAN AGREES TO FORFEIT HIS HOME AND REPAY $1.5 MILLION
According to United States Attorney Catherine Hanaway, former Highland resident Michael Pallagi pled guilty last week to setting up false companies to falsely bill his employer for more than $1.5 million of work that was never performed. Hanaway said, 58 year-old Michael Pallagi, currently of Maryville, stole a significant amount of money over nine years to fund a luxury lifestyle. Now Pallagi will be forced to pay back the stolen money and go to prison to reflect upon his crimes. According to the facts filed with the court, Pallagi was employed as a Project Manager with STERIS, Incorporated, an Ohio based company that makes sterilization systems for health care in St. Louis. One of his duties was to verify the completion of the work STERIS contractors claimed on their invoices for payment. In 2001, Pallagi allegedly set up two sham companies, Performance Packaging and Performance Concepts to carry out his scheme to invoice STERIS for work that was never performed. Pallagi admitted with his plea, that he used these funds to pay personal expenses, to purchase motorcycles, cars, and make improvements on his home. Pallagi has agreed, with his plea, to forfeit his home and a money judgement of at least $1,100,000. In addition, he now faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on January 9, 2009. Pallagi ran unsuccessfully for mayor in Highland in 2001.
GET PREPARED FOR FLU SEASON
With flu season quickly approaching, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold reminds you to take precautions to prevent influenza and stay healthy. Influenza, commonly called "the flu," is an infection of the respiratory tract caused by a virus. Typically, the flu illness includes fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and extreme fatigue. To reduce the risk of getting the flu, it is important to take precautions, practice good hygiene and get an annual flu shot. Vaccination is particularly important for children aged 6 months through 18 years, pregnant women, people 50 years old and over, those with certain chronic medical conditions, residents of nursing homes, and people who live with or care for anyone who is considered high risk. The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination each fall.