EAST ST. LOUIS — A federal judge has sentenced Stephen Keith Sweet of South Roxana on charges of tax evasion and making illegal payments to a U.S. Air Force contracting official to obtain asbestos removal contracts at Scott Air Force Base.
Sweet, 53, received a sentence of 18 months in prison, followed by three years supervised release. The court also ordered Sweet, the owner of Lake Environmental Inc., and Abatement Management, Inc., to pay a fine of $52,400, a restitution amount of $226,988 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," according to a press release issued by Stephen R. Wigginton, the U.S. attorney for Southern Illinois.
"I will not abide in such theft or in government officials who take bribes and thus violate the public trust."
Sweet admitted in court that he willfully filed a false federal income return after diverting business funds to his personal use without declaring those funds as personal income.
In February 2009, Sweet made several payments on behalf of a Air Force contracting official to obtain contracts for asbestos removal services at Scott Air Force Base. Sweet paid for the official's car repairs of $2,495 and for home heating and cooling repairs of $3,487, according to a statement from Wigginton's office.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.