Another Former Alorton Official Sentenced to Federal Prison
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 10, 2014|
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 was sentenced in United States District Court on January 9, 2014, to two years in federal prison for wire fraud and tax evasion, 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, pled guilty on September 25, 2013.
Halter was convicted for financial crimes related to a towing business Halter owns. Documents filed in United States 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. Prosecutors presented evidence that Halter paid a kickback to former Mayor Randy McCallum after he received that TIF grant.
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 conduct resulted in Halter avoiding 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.
The St. Clair County States Attorney and the United States Attorney both 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. Halter made that traffic stop in the early morning hours outside his jurisdiction after he had been drinking.
Halter’s sentence is the latest in a string of federal prosecutions of Alorton officials. In February 2011, Police Chief Robert Cummings resigned after pleading guilty to federal tax crimes charges occurring during his tenure with the Alorton Police Department. Former Mayor Randy McCallum pled guilty to a four-count information on February 24, 2012, for attempted possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance (crack cocaine), theft or conversion of government property, attempting to smuggle contraband into a correctional facility that houses inmates pursuant to an agreement with the attorney general, and making false statements to federal law enforcement officers. McCallum received a 43-month prison sentence. On April 27, 2012, former Alorton Chief of Police Michael Baxton was sentenced to prison for one year for stealing evidence while he was the Alorton chief and making subsequent false statements to federal investigators. The Alorton Streets superintendent, Ronnie Cummings, was sentenced to 41 months’ imprisonment on July 16, 2012, for being a felon in possession of a firearm, which included carrying a weapon in a city-owned vehicle.
United States Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton said, “The Public Corruption Task Force will continue to work to drain the swamp and rid Alorton of any public officials who misuse public office for their own purposes.”
The investigation was conducted through the Metro East Public Corruption Task Force by agents from the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Steven D. Weinhoeft.