Former IL State Sen. Thomas Cullerton sentenced to 1 year in prison in federal embezzlement case

Former IL State Sen. Thomas Cullerton sentenced to 1 year in prison in federal embezzlement case

CHICAGO — A federal decide has sentenced former state Sen. Thomas Cullerton to a 12 months in jail within the $248,000 embezzlement case involving the Teamsters labor union that ended Cullerton’s profession in Springfield.

U.S. District Choose Robert Gettleman mentioned, “It offers me no pleasure, Mr. Cullerton, to take you away from your loved ones.” However prosecutors argued Tuesday that Cullerton thought his elected workplace entitled him to a do-nothing Teamsters job, and the decide mentioned he took that breach of belief critically.

He instructed Cullerton, “We have had far too many public officers seem on this courtroom as felons.”

“Each time you took that paycheck from the Teamsters with out working for it, you knew that you simply have been doing one thing improper,” Gettleman mentioned whereas handing down the sentence.

The decide acknowledged the emotional and monetary penalties Cullerton has already confronted because of the case, together with obvious threats. However the decide defined that “the explanation individuals are indignant” is due to a “disheartening” quantity of public corruption seen by Chicago’s federal courtroom.

Earlier than he realized his sentence, Cullerton spoke at size to the decide about his household life and “the quantity of on-line hate speech feedback” that attacked him and his spouse after his indictment.

As for his job as an organizer for the Teamsters, Cullerton mentioned, “I am not going to say I did not reap the benefits of the scenario. I did.”

Prosecutors had requested the decide to condemn Cullerton to as much as 18 months in jail.

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In making their suggestion, they revealed that former Chicago Teamsters boss John T. Coli instructed them Cullerton was employed for his Teamsters job as a favor to a senator solely recognized in courtroom information as “Senator A.”

“[Cullerton,] who was a state senator on the time of his unlawful conduct, clearly realized that he would be capable to get away with pocketing this cash with out doing any work just because he was an elected official,” Assistant U.S. Lawyer Amarjeet Bhachu wrote.

The previous senator’s protection lawyer requested for probation and group service, telling the decide that Cullerton now does shift work at a warehouse as he tries to make ends meet and repay the Teamsters.

Cullerton is a member of a household whose political fortunes date again to simply earlier than the Nice Chicago Fireplace of 1871. He pleaded responsible to embezzlement again in March, and he admitted he improperly took greater than $248,000 from the Teamsters.

Although he had confronted indictment since August 2019, the Villa Park Democrat held onto his seat till final February, resigning simply earlier than his lawyer revealed his plans to plead responsible.

The costs towards Cullerton got here simply days after Coli pleaded responsible in an extortion case revolving round $325,000 in money funds he acquired from Cinespace Chicago Movie Studios between 2014 and 2017. Coli additionally agreed on the time to cooperate with federal prosecutors, regardless of having bragged years earlier that, “you may lower my fingers off, I would not discuss.”

Coli has not been sentenced.

Cullerton landed his job as an organizer for Teamsters Joint Council 25 after his former employer, Hostess Manufacturers, shut down in 2012. Coli instructed prosecutors he organized for Cullerton’s hiring as an organizer “however didn’t imagine the employment was respectable,” in response to courtroom filings.

Cullerton was accused of amassing $188,320 in wage, bonuses and cellphone and automobile allowances from the Teamsters between March 2013 and February 2016, in addition to $64,068 in well being and pension contributions, whereas doing little or no work for the labor union. He was additionally accused of amassing $21,678 in reimbursed medical claims.

(Supply: Solar-Occasions Media Wire – Copyright Chicago Solar-Occasions 2021.)

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