William Beavers gets 6 months in jail, $10K fine for tax evasion - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

William Beavers gets 6 months in jail, $10K fine for tax evasion

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A federal judge sentenced longtime Cook County Commissioner William Beavers to six months in prison and slapped him with a hefty fine for tax evasion on Wednesday.

Judge James Zagel sentenced the 78-year-old on Wednesday in Chicago. Beavers is also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and $30,848 in restitution.

Prosecutors had wanted more prison time, saying Illinois politicians were obviously not getting the message about corruption.

Zagel has presided over bigger cases of crooked politicians, like disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. But in Beavers' case, he said there was no public corruption.

Judge Zagel said this was a common tax offense, one committed by private individuals every day. But Beavers was an elected official, and that did affect the sentence.

Beavers was convicted in March of failing to declare campaign cash as income after he spent the money on slot machines.

Beavers lost $500,000 at casinos of the course of several years. Prosecutors say he needed a steady, untaxed flow of cash because of a gambling habit.

Beavers exuded a brash, you-can't-touch-me persona during his more than a quarter century as a leading Chicago Democrat. He served the public for 50 years as police officer, alderman and most recently, county commissioner. He once described himself favorably as a virile hog.

Judge Zagel did, perhaps, deal a blow to Beavers' ego by saying the defendant was not a person of great power and did not have a distinguished career in public service.

When he arrived at the federal building, he said quote, "I'm a man."

But in court, surprisingly, he made no statement. Afterwards, he was smiling.

"They sent the FBI to try to make me a stool pigeon. I'm not a stool pigeon, never will be one," Beavers said. "Listen, I'm a hero in my community. My people love me, for standing up and fighting the government, one on one."

The judge said Beavers' actions perpetuate the public's distrust of politicians. Beavers expects to be free while he appeals the case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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