William Beavers Sentenced for Failing to Pay Taxes on Campaign and County Funds Used for Personal Purposes
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 25, 2013|
CHICAGO—William Beavers, a former Cook County Commissioner and, before that, a longtime Chicago alderman and police officer, was sentenced today to six months in prison for obstructing the Internal Revenue Service and failing to report and pay taxes on all his income. Beavers was convicted after a trial in March of concealing his under-reporting of income and underpayment of taxes on thousands of dollars that he converted to personal use from his campaign accounts, as well as from his county discretionary spending account. Between 2006 and 2008, Beavers wrote 100 checks to himself, totaling approximately $226,000, from three separate campaign accounts and used at least a portion of those funds for personal purposes, including gambling. In 2006, he used more than $68,000 from a campaign account to boost his city pension, and between 2006 and 2008, he used his $1,200 monthly county contingency account, totaling $28,800, for personal purposes without reporting any of these funds as income on his federal tax returns.
Beavers, 78, of Chicago, was also fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $30,848 in restitution to the IRS by U.S. District Judge James Zagel. Beavers was ordered to begin serving his sentence on December 2, to be followed by a year of supervised release. During supervised release, the judge ordered Beavers to perform 400 hours of community service and prohibited him from gambling or visiting a casino or racetrack.
“Far from being the victim of others’ poor advice, Beavers was a victim of his own greed,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo. “[H]is public claims that he was charged not because of his tax fraud, but rather as a result of government vindictiveness, were yet another effort to shift blame away from himself and point the finger at others.”
Beavers was elected to the Cook County Board of Commissioners, representing the 4th District, in November 2006 and began serving as a commissioner a month later. Previously, he served as the 7th Ward alderman on Chicago’s City Council from 1983 until November 2006, when he was elected to the commissioner’s post.
According to the evidence at trial, Beavers had sole authority over three campaign committees that supported his political activities―Citizens for Beavers, Friends of William Beavers, also known as Friends for William Beavers, and 7th Ward Democratic Organization. As part of the corrupt endeavor to obstruct the IRS, Beavers converted campaign funds for his own personal use, provided false information to his campaign treasurers regarding the use of these funds, and understated his income and the taxes he owed in his individual income tax returns for 2006, 2007, and 2008.
While giving Beavers credit at face value for every explanation for the use of campaign funds, no matter how implausible, the government presented evidence at trial showing that between 2006 and 2008, he failed to report income totaling at least $127,747 and failed to pay taxes on that amount totaling $40,463.
During those three years, Beavers caused his campaign committees to issue checks payable to himself and to third parties on his behalf, and he used at least part of the proceeds for personal expenses, including gambling. The checks totaled about $96,000 in 2006, $69,300 in 2007, and $61,000 in 2008, for a total of $226,300.
As part of the corrupt endeavor, Beavers concealed his personal use of campaign funds by maintaining and causing campaign workers to maintain records that falsely reflected the uses of the campaign checks, including records used to prepare semi-annual Illinois campaign finance reports known as D-2s. Beavers caused campaign workers to falsely record, on check stubs and other records, that certain campaign checks written to him and used for personal purposes were instead used for campaign expenses.
In some instances, Beavers attempted to conceal his personal use of campaign funds by telling campaign workers that checks payable to and cashed by him were for paying campaign- related expenses, even though those expenses were not incurred by the campaign committees until months after Beavers had converted the funds. In other instances, Beavers withheld from his campaign staff any explanation of certain checks payable to him, or he caused workers to falsely record that certain checks were “void” or unused even though he had cashed them.
On November 14, 2006, Beavers caused a check for $68,763.07 to be paid from Citizens for Beavers to the Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago, a pension plan for certain city of Chicago employees, including aldermen, to increase his monthly pension from $2,890 to $6,541. The check was for personal use and should have been, but was not, reported as income on his 2006 income tax return.
The sentence was announced by Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; James C. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago; and Robert J. Shields, Jr., Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Getter, Samuel B. Cole, and Carrie Hamilton.