UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
Re: United States v. Frederick Bathon
The United States Department of Justice believes it is important to keep victims of federal crime informed of court proceedings. This notice provides information about the above-referenced criminal case
Recent Event: Defendant Frederick Bathon pleaded guilty on Tuesday, February 5, 2013, to a one-count criminal Information charging him with a criminal antitrust offense in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1.
Scheduled Event: A sentencing hearing will be held on May 17, 2013, at the U.S. District Courthouse in East St. Louis, Illinois, before Chief Judge David R. Herndon.
Case Summary: Frederick Bathon was elected to be the Madison County, Illinois, County Treasurer in November, 1998, and served in that position until December, 2009. As treasurer, BATHON was responsible for conducting the Madison County, Illinois property tax sales in each of those years.
For the tax sales conducted in 2005-2008, certain individual tax buyers bidding to purchase property tax liens in Madison County, Illinois, engaged in collusion to suppress and restrain competition to enable them to purchase tax liens at non-competitive interest rates. By 2007, and 2008, the bid-rigging and price-fixing was so pervasive that distressed homeowners were charged the statutory maximum interest rate on nearly every property tax lien sold; and tax the buyers did not submit competitive bids to lower rates. BATHON participated in this bid-rigging and price-fixing scheme and permitted the collusion by structuring the tax auction to reward tax bidders who were also campaign contributors. BATHON utilized a seating chart to ensure that his contributors were recognized by the auctioneer as winning bidders, he eliminated the competitive bidding process and instituted a “no trailing bid” policy to eliminate interest rate competition, and he directed the auctioneer to disperse the winning bids between his largest campaign contributors.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and the Fairview Heights Field Office of the Springfield Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution of the case is being handled by United States Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton and Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Weinhoeft.
To any victim who plans on attending any Court proceeding: Victims have the right to attend public Court proceedings, subject to some limitations as determined by the Court. For many reasons Court proceedings may be cancelled or rescheduled on short notice. If you are planning to attend a scheduled hearing, please check this web site for any updates before coming to Court.
Title 18, United States Code, Section 3771(a) provides:
A crime victim has the following rights:
(1) The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
(2) The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public Court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused.
(3) The right not to be excluded from any such public Court proceeding, unless the Court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding.
(4) The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district Court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.
(5) The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.
(6) The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.
(7) The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
(8) The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy.
Since there are a very large number of potential victims in this prosecution, this case may be designated as a “Multiple Crime Victim” case by Court Order under the provisions of 18 U.S.C. §3771(d)(2). Accordingly, the principal means of communicating and consulting with the investigators and government lawyers regarding this case will be through a designated email address for victims.
If you are a victim, and wish to contact us, please send an email to us at USAILS.VW_ILS@usdoj.gov. Please provide your full name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address. Given the large number of victims in this matter, and our need to efficiently manage our multiple victim prosecutions, we ask that you communicate with us by email. If necessary, we can have someone respond to you by telephone.
United States Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois
9 Executive Drive
Fairview Heights, IL 62208