EAST ST. LOUIS PRECINCT COMMITTEEMAN AND EX-CITY COUNCIL MEMBER SENTENCED TO FIFTY MONTHS IN PRISON FOR TAX EVASION, FAILURE TO FILE INCOME TAX RETURNS, AND VOTE FRAUD
Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that on April 13, 2011, Michael V. Collins, 49, who resides in Swansea, Illinois, was sentenced to a total of 50 months in prison, followed by three years supervised release. Collins previously was found guilty, following a six-day trial, of Tax Evasion for 2003, Tax Evasion for 2004, Tax Evasion for 2005, Failure to File Federal Income Tax Return for 2003, Failure to File Federal Income Tax Return for 2004, Failure to File a Federal Income Tax Return for 2005, Election Fraud for the March, 2006, election, and Election Fraud for the February, 2008, election. As conditions of supervised release, Collins was ordered to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service in the amount of $342,375.14. Collins is also prohibited from serving in public office, or from holding an elected public office, while on supervised release.
Evidence submitted at trial established that Collins committed tax evasion and attempted to conceal his income by commingling business and personal assets; by failing to provide his correct Social Security Number, by operating a business under an invalid Employer’s Identification Number, through the submission of false certified payrolls which falsely reflected that his employees’ federal income tax withholdings and FICA taxes were withheld and paid in, through the receipt and expenditure of cash, without record keeping, and through the failure to maintain accurate books and records. Evidence was submitted that Collins had not filed a federal tax return in thirteen years at the time he became aware of the federal investigation. Further evidence was submitted that Collins had not paid Illinois state income taxes for twenty-two years.
Further evidence submitted at trial established that Collins knowingly and willfully give false information as to his address for the purpose of establishing his eligibility to vote in a voting district in East St. Louis in that he falsely represented that he lived at 22 Loisel in the City of East St. Louis when, in fact, he resided at 4382 Red Field Drive, Swansea, Illinois, and during that same period of time he was elected to be a precinct committeeman in East St. Louis when he was living in Swansea, Illinois. Evidence was submitted that Collins had family members sign petitions for him to get on the ballot to be precinct committeeman by falsely representing their address.
The successful prosecution was the result of an investigation by the Public Corruption Task Force for the Southern District of Illinois with the Internal Revenue Service/Criminal Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor/Office of Labor Racketeering, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Norman R. Smith.