EAST ST. LOUIS — A federal judge delayed the sentencing hearing for ex-Madison County Treasurer Fred Bathon until Aug. 30, so that Bathon can continue cooperating with federal investigators about a bid-rigging scheme that cheated thousands of Madison County taxpayers out of millions of dollars.
U.S. District Judge David Herndon agreed Tuesday to delay Bathon's sentencing until the end of August after Clyde Kuehn, Bathon's attorney, filed a motion to continue sentencing, also on Tuesday, court records show.
In the motion, Kuehn stipulated a list of reasons for why the delay is necessary. Kuehn wrote that while Bathon "is named alone in the information, this case involves co-conspirators who may be charged at a later date," and that the "defendant is currently cooperating with the government in its efforts to bring future charges against these conspirators."
As a result, both Bathon and government prosecutors "agree that it would be appropriate and mutually beneficial if sentencing could be placed on hold while the defendant's cooperation remains ongoing."
Bathon pleaded guilty in early February in U.S. district court in East St. Louis to a criminal charge of rigging the tax sale so that his political donors profited from inflated penalties paid by property owners.
Bathon originally was set to be sentenced May 17, but Herndon earlier had agreed to delay the sentencing to May 21. Then, after Tuesday, he ordered the sentencing pushed back to Aug. 30.
Bathon, according to his plea agreement, could receive a prison sentence of between 31 and 40 months, though his sentence could be reduced based on his cooperation with federal law enforcement.
Bathon's guilty plea, as well as the three class action lawsuits, occurred more than two years after a September 2010 series by the News-Democrat that exposed the bid-rigging scheme.