Former Metro East Public Official Convicted ... Again
A former police officer in Alorton and Fairmont City, who also served as a trustee of the Commonfields of Cahokia Public Water District, and as the Alorton Director of Public Safety, pleaded guilty in federal district court to wire fraud and tax evasion on September 25, 2013, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Harry A. Halter, Jr., also known as “Dink,” 53, of Cahokia, Illinois, waived his right to face a grand jury indictment and pled guilty to charges brought directly by the US Attorney’s Office.
Halter was convicted for financial crimes related to a towing business Halter owns. Documents filed in US District Court established that Halter owned and operated Town & Country Towing, located in Alorton, Illinois. In 2009, Halter received a grant of $24,990 in tax increment financing (TIF) towards the construction of a new fence to surround the perimeter of his tow yard. However, Halter’s wire fraud conviction came after he misapplied $19,057.62 of those funds to pay personal expenses – such as credit cards and expenses at Kinkaid Village Marina for personal recreational boating expenses.
Halter was convicted of tax evasion for using his business to pay personal expenses, conducting personal and business transactions through the extensive use of cash, paying employees in cash and not reporting their wages to the IRS, by not keeping accurate records of business transactions, and other acts of concealing his true income from the IRS for the purpose of limiting his tax liability. This criminal conduct allowed Halter to avoid paying at least $128,719 in federal income taxes that he otherwise would have been required to pay. Halter agreed to make full restitution to the IRS and the village of Alorton as a condition of his guilty plea.
Both the St. Clair County State’s Attorney and the United States Attorney have investigated and prosecuted Halter for separate crimes. Halter was convicted of official misconduct in state court on April 4, 2013, after compelling a female motorist to perform oral sex to avoid arrest in 2008. Evidence at that hearing showed that Halter made that traffic stop in the early morning hours outside of his jurisdiction after he had been drinking.
Wire fraud is punishable by not more than 20 years in prison, and/or a $250,000 fine, or both, and not more than three years of supervised release following any term in prison. Tax evasion is punishable by not more than 5 years in prison, and/or a $100,000 fine, and not more than three years of supervised release following any prison term. However, the United States Sentencing Guidelines must be applied to the case and considered by the Court during sentencing. Halter is scheduled to be sentenced in US District Court on January 9, 2014.
The investigation was conducted by agents from the Internal Revenue Service / Criminal Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft.