EAST ST. LOUIS — The elected East St. Louis Township supervisor has entered a plea of guilty to a charge of wire fraud related to embezzlement of public funds.
Oliver W. Hamilton, 62, of East St. Louis, 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. Sentencing is scheduled for March 1, 2017, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois Donald S. Boyce said.
As part of the plea, Hamilton admitted engaging in a scheme to defraud from March of 2011 continuing through June of 2016 where he charged personal purchases on the township’s credit card and misrepresented that the use of public funds was for legitimate public purposes. As part of the plea, Hamilton admitted that the loss is more than $40,000 but not more than $95,000 and that he abused a position of public trust.
The specific wire transmission charged was the use of the East St. Louis Township credit card to purchase airline tickets to Las Vegas for personal purposes.
Hamilton is on bond pending sentencing but was required, effective immediately, to remove himself from the finances of the township, until the effective date of his resignation from office.
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. Under the anticipated advisory Sentencing Guidelines, the sentencing range would be six months to 18 months in prison. Under the terms of the plea, Hamilton is agreeing to recommend to the court that the appropriate sentence is a year and a day in prison.
“Public corruption takes a heavy toll on our communities,” Boyce said in a statement. “Beyond the financial consequences, corruption causes the general public to lose faith in their government. We must not tolerate corruption at any level of government, and we will continue to investigate and prosecute corrupt public officials.”
The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service/Criminal Investigations as part of the Metro East Public Corruption Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Norman R. Smith.