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East St Louis Township Supervisor pleads guilty to wire fraud, embezzling public funds

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EAST ST LOUIS – Oliver W. Hamilton, 62, of East St. Louis, Illinois, entered a plea of guilty to an Information charging wire fraud in a scheme to defraud the citizens of the East St. Louis Township, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Donald S. Boyce, announced Thursday.

Hamilton faces a statutory maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to 3 years supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for March 1, 2017.

The Southern Illinois District of the Department of Justice reports:

Hamilton was the elected East St. Louis Township Supervisor. As part of the plea, Hamilton admitted engaging in a scheme to defraud from March of 2011 continuing through June of 2016 where he charged personal purchases on the Township’s credit card and misrepresented that the use of public funds was for legitimate public purposes.

As part of the plea, Hamilton admitted that the loss is more than $40,000 but not more than $95,000 and that he abused a position of public trust. The specific wire transmission charged was the use of the East St. louis Township credit card to purchase airline tickets to Las Vegas for personal purposes.

Hamilton is on bond pending sentencing but was required, effective immediately, to remove himself from the finances of the Township, until the effective date of his resignation from office. Hamilton is also to promptly resign from his other public positions as a board member of St. Clair County and as a board member of the East Side Health District.

Under the anticipated advisory Sentencing Guidelines, the sentencing range would be six months to eighteen months in prison. Under the terms of the plea, Hamilton is agreeing to recommend to the Court that the appropriate sentence is a year and a day in prison.

United States Attorney Boyce said: "Public corruption takes a heavy toll on our communities. Beyond the financial consequences, corruption causes the general public to lose faith in their government. We must not tolerate corruption at any level of government, and we will continue to investigate and prosecute corrupt public officials."

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5 COMMENTS

  1. The Citizen Participation Institute is working to clean up corrupt “insider” township governments, and eliminate obsolete or unnecessary ones whose territory is almost completely incorporated within municipal borders.
    Township trustees and officials are a species protected by the insider-run “caucus system.” It gives them the unfair advantage of being slated on the ballot by a handful of friends and relatives, without having to petition to get on the ballot… simply put, they are handed the nomination on a gold platter, with no effort of their own being necessary.
    It is the only “rigged” political system legally permitted by Illinois state statutes, and it’s time for it to END.