Nine indicted in St. Clair County public corruption investigationBy Bob Pieper For Chronicle Media — December 12, 2016
Nine Metro-East elected officials and public employees were indicted on state felony charges, Dec. 5, as the result of an ongoing joint investigation by state and federal authorities into corruption in area government. According to a statement from St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly:
– East St. Louis City Councilwoman and East Saint Louis Township contractor June Hamilton Dean, 53, of Swansea, was charged with public contractor misconduct and forgery, with the intent to defraud a violence prevention program known as Ceasefire.
– East St. Louis Township Trustee Michael Roberts, 70, of East Saint Louis was charged with acting in his official capacity to obtain a personal advantage for himself by knowingly performing an act in excess of his lawful authority. Specifically, investigators allege Roberts used township funds for a personal trip for himself and his wife to Las Vegas.
– Raeshaunta Lacey, 45, of Swansea, was charged with forgery and knowingly delivering a false document.
– East St. Louis Township Trustee Edith Moore, 68, of East St. Louis was charged with prevention of voting or candidate support by forgery, knowingly preventing another person from lawfully voting, supporting, or opposing the nomination or election of any person for public office.
– Teana Gillespie, 26, of East St. Louis, an Alorton police officer, was charged with knowingly possessing a Smith and Wesson .40 caliber handgun at a time when her firearm owner’s Identification card, issued by the Illinois Department of State Police, was revoked and after having been a patient in a mental institution within the past five years.
– Anthony Davis, 25, of Cahokia, an auxiliary officer for the city of Washington Park, was charged with official misconduct while in his official capacity, with knowingly performing an act that he knew was forbidden by law to perform, being the offense of obstructing justice, knowingly furnishing false information to a trooper as to the cause of an accident involving his vehicle.
– Christopher Malone, 41, of Swansea, an employee of the U.S. Postal service, was charged with official misconduct and theft of government property and with knowingly exerting unauthorized control over property of the U.S. Postal Service.
– Jo Ann Reed, 58, former mayor of Alorton, was charged with knowingly giving or promising to give money to another person, to vote, or to influence that person to vote for or against any candidate or public question.
– Michael Crockett Jr., 55, of Millstadt, a member of the St. Clair County Board of Review, was charged with official misconduct and bribery while acting in his official capacity with the intent to obtain a personal advantage for himself or another. Investigators say Crockett accepted a monetary bribe for assisting in the reduction of property taxes on a property in Cahokia.
Hamilton Dean was charged just days after her brother, East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver Hamilton, pled guilty to related federal public corruption charges. (see below).
The statement from the state’s attorney’s office indicates that although Hamilton Dean is an elected official in East St. Louis, her residential address is in Swansea.
Kelly said additional indictments are possible as a result of the investigation, known as Operation Watchtower. The investigation is being conducted by a specially formed Metro East Public Corruption Task Force, which includes Illinois State Police detectives as well as agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division.
Township Supervisor pleads guilty
East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver W. Hamilton, 62, plead guilty Nov. 30 in Federal District Court to wire fraud related to embezzlement of public funds.
As part of the plea, Hamilton admitted to defrauding the township from March 2011 through June 2016 charging personal expense on the township’s credit card. Specifically cited in the wire fraud charge was the purchase airline tickets to Las Vegas. Hamilton in the pleas deal admitted to improper use of between $40,000 and $95,000 in township funds.
Hamilton faces a statutory maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years’ supervised release. However, the plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois recommend a sentence of one year and a day in prison.
Formal Sentencing is scheduled for March 1, 2017.
Hamilton, an elected official, remains free on bond pending sentencing. However, under the plea agreement is required resign his township office and must immediately relinquish control of township finances, until the effective date of his resignation.
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.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Norman R. Smith.
— Nine indicted in St. Clair County public corruption investigation —