Madison - St. Clair Record

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Prosecutors failed to act on behalf of cheated property owners

By The Madison County Record | Aug 25, 2015

To the Editor:

An old adage states: "The wheels of justice grind slowly.” Years after U.S. Attorney Steve Wigginton put disgraced Madison County Treasurer and his co conspirators behind bars in a tax rigging scheme, defrauded homeowners have yet to receive one penny of restitution. Mr. Wigginton estimated our fellow citizens’ losses at over $4 million.

A recent article in the Alton Telegraph entitled "Officials Spar Over Bathon Related Suit" suggests that Madison County State’s Attorney Thomas Gibbons and Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler wage a war of words about who should provide restitution.

Mr. Prenzler suggests that the Sale and Error Fund or the Indemnity Fund might be used. Mr. Gibbons argues only convicted offenders should pay.

One wonders if Mr. Gibbon’s statement sounds hollow. As State’s Attorney, Mr. Gibbons could have sought restitution from the conspirators. Instead, Mr. Gibbons chose not to and allowed the statute of limitations to run out. Mr. Gibbons appears to have done nothing. Mr. Prenzler’s suggestion would be unnecessary if a prosecutorial agency had acted decisively on cheated tax payers' behalf.

One fact remains: Defrauded citizens have yet to receive a penny. George Washington, father of our country once wrote: ”The administration of justice is the foremost pillar of government.”

Prosecutors who might have acted to recover or restore the money failed to act. If you lost your home or money and the county prosecutor said the offenders should pay restitution but didn’t act on your behalf, what might you be thinking?

Phil Chapman


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