Former Butler County Commissioner Michael Fox Pleads Guilty to Public Corruption Charges
Fox and Dublin Attorney Plead Guilty to Tax Crimes
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 09, 2011|
CINCINNATI, OH—Former Butler County Commission President Michael A. Fox pleaded guilty in United States District Court here today to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and one count of filing a false income tax return. Robert C. Schuler, a Dublin, Ohio attorney, pled guilty to one count of filing a false income tax return.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS); and Keith L. Bennett, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cincinnati Division (FBI) announced the pleas entered today before Senior U.S. District Judge Sandra S. Beckwith.
Fox, 62, admitted to committing acts of public corruption while he was a publicly elected member of the Butler County Board of Commissioners. The crimes center on a scheme to benefit from an improper financial relationship between himself and Schuler, 47, involving a company of Schuler’s that had a contract with Butler County.
According to a statement of facts filed with Fox’s plea agreement, Fox accepted approximately $460,000 in 2002 in what the government deems a bribe or kickback from Schuler. At the time, a company owned by Schuler, NORMAP, held a multi-million-dollar contract with Butler County to install a fiber optic communications network throughout the county.
Fox failed to disclose the $460,000 he received from Schuler to the Butler County Commission in an attempt to hide the improper financial relationship from the citizens of Butler County.
Fox admitted that he did not report the $460,000 on his 2002 federal income tax return. Schuler admitted that he did not report $360,000 in business income on his 2002 federal income tax return. The plea agreement does not resolve any possible civil liability that Fox or Schuler may have for taxes, interest, and penalties relating to their individual federal income tax relative to tax years 2002-2010.
The terms of the plea agreement require Fox to pay restitution to the IRS in an amount to be determined by the court prior to sentencing. Judge Beckwith conditionally accepted the plea agreement, which contains an agreed-to sentence of 48 months imprisonment for Fox. Schuler’s plea agreement includes a recommended sentence of between 12 and 18 months of home confinement and a fine of $50,000. Judge Beckwith will schedule a date for sentencing.
Stewart commended the IRS and FBI agents for their joint investigation of the case, along with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer C. Barry of the Cincinnati office and Dwight K. Keller of the Dayton office, who are prosecuting the case.