Christina Stueve Hodges Jan. 18, 2013, 9:46am
Stephen Keith Sweet, 53, of South Roxana, was sentenced in federal court on charges of tax evasion and making an illegal payment to a government official, according to a press release issued by the office of U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois.
Sweet received a sentence of 18 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. The court also ordered Sweet to pay a fine of $52,400, a restitution amount of $226,988 to the Internal Revenue Service, and a special assessment of $200.
“Tax evasion is reaching into the pocket of every law-abiding citizen in Southern Illinois and stealing from that person," stated U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton. "I will not abide in such theft or in government officials who take bribes and thus violate the public trust."
Sweet, who owns Lake Environmental, Inc. (LEI), Abatement Management, Inc. (AMI), and AMI O LLC, which are located in Madison County, admitted in court that he willfully attempted to evade and defeat a large part of the income tax due the federal government by filing a false and fraudulent tax return with the IRS.
Sweet, who falsely reported his total income, had diverted business funds to his own personal use without declaring those amounts as income.
As to the other charge, it was revealed that Sweet’s businesses provide asbestos abatement services. In February, 2009, Sweet made several payments on behalf of a United States Air Force contracting official in order to keep and obtain contracts for services on Scott Air Force Base. Sweet paid for the official’s car repairs of $2,495.01, and for his home heating and cooling repairs of $3,487.00.
The case was investigated by agents of the IRS - Criminal Investigation and U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Liam Coonan.