Bathon sentence reduced by one year; Former treasurer at St. Louis halfway house

By The Madison County Record | May 11, 2015


EAST ST. LOUIS – Former Madison County treasurer Fred Bathon, who accepted 30 months in prison for rigging bids, will go free after 18 months.

The website of the U. S. Bureau of Prisons shows a release date of June 25, rather than next June as his original sentence would have provided.

The website shows he has already left prison, to finish his sentence at a residential reentry management facility in downtown St. Louis.

The record of his case at district court in East St. Louis shows that U. S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton filed a motion under seal in December.

District Judge David Herndon signed and sealed an order granting the motion.

U.S. attorneys can seek sentence reductions for prisoners who provide substantial assistance to prosecutors carrying out criminal investigations.

In 2013, Bathon admitted that he conspired with bidders to run corrupt auctions of delinquent taxes at the Madison County courthouse from 2005 to 2008.

He favored bidders who contributed to his campaign fund.

Their conspiracy artificially inflated the interest rate on delinquent taxes for most property owners to the legal limit of 18 percent.

Tax buyers John Vassen, Scott McLean and Barret Rochman also pleaded guilty.

Wigginton has not moved to reduce their sentences.

The Bureau of Prisons website shows a Dec. 12 release for Vassen, July 7 for McLean, and June 27 for Rochman.

Wigginton has reduced sentences for three other prisoners in two separate cases of public corruption, and motions remain pending for at least six more.

In a drug scandal that shook the St. Clair County courthouse, he has reduced sentences for two prisoners and moved to reduce sentences for three more.

Wigginton obtained an order from District Judge Michael Reagan, reducing the sentence of heroin dealer Sean McGilvery from 10 years to fewer than five years.

McGilvery admitted he sold heroin to former circuit judge Michael Cook.

Reagan also granted a motion reducing the sentence of former probation officer James Fogarty from five years to 30 months.

Fogarty admitted he sold cocaine to the late associate judge Joe Christ, though he successfully pleaded that he did not deliver the cocaine that killed Christ.

Three motions remain pending: for Deborah Perkins, who agreed to serve 27 years for leading a drug distribution ring that included McGilvery; for Perkins’ son, Douglas Oliver, who accepted 30 years for selling drugs and causing the death of Jessie Williams, a guest in his home; and for Eric Beckley, who accepted 11 years and three months for his role as a distributor for Perkins.

In a cocaine distribution conspiracy out of East St. Louis, Wigginton reduced the sentence of Brian Matthews from 15 years to about seven.

A motion remains pending for former East St. Louis detective Orlando Ward, who accepted five years for sharing police information to protect cocaine deliveries.

Motions also remain pending for Antwone Johnson, who accepted 15 years, and Jaren Jamison who accepted five years.

Wigginton prosecuted all three public corruption cases in 2013.

The substantial assistance that the prisoners must have provided in order to earn shorter sentences has not resulted in any new prosecution.

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