Cook County Commissioner William Beavers was indicted Thursday on allegations of tax fraud.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Beavers, 77, allegedly failed to report thousands dollars of income he withdrew from his campaign accounts, as well as his county discretionary spending account. Beavers -- who sometimes refers to himself as "The Hog With The Big Nuts" -- allegedly used some of the money to gamble with and used $68,000 from a campaign account to boost his city pension. Between 2006 and 2008, he is accused of withdrawing $225,000 from the accounts in question.
Beavers stands charged with three separate counts of filing inaccurate federal income tax returns, in addition to another count of obstructing and impeding the Internal Revenue Service, CBS Chicago reports.
Beavers told the Chicago Sun-Times he believes he was indicted because he refused to "wear a wire" on his commissioner colleague John Daley, the former mayor's brother. Daley claims he is unaware if he is under federal investigation.
"They tried to get to me to become a stool pigeon and I wouldn’t become a stool pigeon," Beavers told the Sun-Times. "They wanted me to wear a wire on John Daley. S---."
The indictment was announced Thursday afternoon by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald who argued in a statement that "if politicians choose to use their campaign funds for personal use then they, like all the citizens they serve, share the obligation to honestly report their income and pay the correct amount of taxes," the Tribune reports.
If convicted, Beavers faces a sentence of up to three years in prison plus a $250,000 fine -- plus restitution -- for each of the four charges, according to CBS.
Beavers was elected as a Cook County Commissioner in 2006 and served as the 7th Ward alderman on Chicago's City Council from 1983 to 2006. He also worked as a Chicago police officer for over two decades.
Last summer, Beavers was one of two county commissioners who refused to comply with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's call for them to take five furlough and five shutdown days to help the county alleviate its budget shortfall.
The Tribune reports that he has been a vocal supporter of old-school, "machine-style" Chicago politics -- and has praised "the merits of patronage hiring."
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