Kenneth T. Niewerth, 58, of Salem, Wisconsin.

An employee of a heating and air conditioning company is facing charges after prosecutors say he submitted fake high-bid proposals to the Village of Libertyville so his employer could win contracts.

Kenneth T. Niewerth, 58, of Salem, Wisconsin, was charged with three counts of bid-rigging, forgery, wire fraud and computer fraud.

Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office Public Information Officer Sara Avalos told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that Niewerth allegedly submitted fake proposals from April 2019 to March 2022.

The proposals came from a made-up company called KenMark Heating and Air Conditioning and were submitted to the Village of Libertyville.

The matter was discovered in March 2022 after Niewerth submitted two competing bids for a village contract, Avalos said.

One of the bids was on behalf of his employer, Cahill Heating, Air Conditioning and Electric, which is based in Lake Bluff, and the other bid was from the fraudulent company, KenMark Heating and Air Conditioning.

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Avalos said an internal review was triggered and the investigation was referred to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office to avoid any conflict of interest of the Libertyville Police Department investigating the case.

A joint investigation into KenMark was also opened by special agents from the Illinois Department of Revenue.

The investigation confirmed that KenMark Heating and Air Conditioning did not exist, Avalos said.

The KenMark proposals were regularly higher than his current employer, Cahill Heating, Air Conditioning and Electric, resulting in the municipal contracts being steered toward his employer, Avalos said.

Court records show Niewerth’s alleged offenses occurred dating back to 2019.

“I want to take a moment to compliment the outstanding and detailed work of our Special Investigations Division and the Illinois Department of Revenue,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said.

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“The Village made the right decision in referring this matter to us, and our team in partnership with DOR did an outstanding job of uncovering this fraud,” Rinehart added.

Bond was initially set at $100,000 but later reduced to $30,000 after Niewerth self-surrendered, court records show.

Niewerth posted 10% of the bond and was released from the Lake County Jail.

He is scheduled to appear in court again on August 14 for a status of preliminary hearing.