Former Assistant Centreville Police Chief Corey Allen at 1:18 p.m. Thursday became a convicted felon after admitting that he lied to federal agents about selling a gun to a convicted sex offender.
Allen, 31, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael J. Reagan to the charge that he made false statements to federal law enforcement officers brought against him by a Southern Illinois grand jury on Dec. 11.
Allen entered an open plea, which means that the U.S. government represented by Steven Weinhoeft has not agreed to recommend any particular sentence or guideline range and may recommend that Allen be sentenced to any prison sentence up to and including the maximum allowed by law.
Allen faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, up to three years of supervised release, and a $1,000 special assessment.
The guideline range is 24 to 30 months in prison for Allen. Reagan told Allen that he will make the decision what the sentence will be, and that he does not have to keep to the suggested guidelines. Reagan's decision will come after he receives Allen's presentence report and both the prosecution and defense have time to discuss it.
Allen can not withdraw the guilty plea he entered Thursday afternoon.
Reagan asked Allen whether he had been made a promise, offered anything or threatened into signing the plea agreement, and Allen said no. He said he knew the government could prove what they had to prove against him and that it was in his best interest to plea. And, he said he was satisfied with his legal counsel and had no questions for Reagan.
Before Reagan accepted Allen's plea, he told him that once he pleaded guilty he was immediately classified as a convicted felon and that his law enforcement career was over. He told him that he could never own or touch a weapon, vote, work in federal buildings, hospitals, or any government related facility.
Allen, wearing a black shirt and blue jeans, stood at the podium in front of Reagan with his hands clasp together and stared into Reagan's eyes. His attorney, Ethan Skaggs was to his right. After declaring Allen mentally competent and fully capable of understanding the charges, and the plea agreement, Reagan asked Allen how he would plead. Allen said "guilty." The courtroom, which was packed when he entered a not guilt plea a few months ago, was virtually empty except for a few people.
Sentencing guidelines ordinarily call for up to six months for lying to a federal agent, but prosecutors will try to have Allen sentenced for the more serious offense of selling a gun to a known felon.
In the government's stipulation of facts, Allen acknowledged that he knew that the individual to whom he sold the weapon was a convicted sex offender. He knew that because the sex offender was required to register his address with the Centreville Police Department and Allen was assistant police chief. He was appointed to the position during Mayor Marius Jackson's second term as mayor. Neither Jackson nor Police Chief Steve Brown could be reached for comment.
The government's stipulation of facts says that Allen sold a Hi-Point Model JHP 45 ACP semi-automatic pistol with serial number 481800 on it and two magazines to the person he knew had been convicted of a crime that sent him to prison for more than one year. The selling price was $100, the document said.
Then on Oct. 11, federal agents conducted further investigation and allowed the convicted felon t pretend to flee from federal agents before they captured and arrested him.
Allen, who was a canine officer, was working and on duty. He was called to the scene to speak to the unidentified person.
Allen was allowed to speak privately with the person who was wearing a covert recording device. The felon told Allen he fled because he had a gun on him that he threw in the field near where a police car was now located.
The felon told Allen he needed money and was on his way to sell the gun to someone else.
Allen said that he was going to tell the federal agents that the convicted felon threw a small amount of marijuana. He, then ended the conversation with the felon and returned to the area where other agents were.
Allen falsely told federal agents that he had attempted to interview the convicted felon, but that the man shut down after he asked Allen what was going to happen to him. Then, Allen told agents it was likely that the felon had thrown marijuana rather than a gun, the document said.
Agents searched for a while and located the gun. They called Allen over and showed him the pistol. Allen talked to the felon again. The man told Allen not to worry and re-assured him that he would not say anything to anyone. Allen told agents he refused to talk.
On Nov. 20, agents with the Metro-east Public Corruption Task Force, FBI agents, and IRS agents went to Allen's home to interview him.
Allen agreed to talk to agents and then falsely stated that he did not provide the gun to the felon, according to authorities. Allen claimed he had no knowledge of where the felon got the gun from, but that it did not come from him. Allen told agents he had not seen the gun before Oct. 11., but that was not true, according to the stipulation of facts.
Allen had previously had the gun and had sold it to the person on May 3 for $100, the document said.
Allen was confronted with recordings from the Oct. 11 sting operation, but he continued to deny that he had prior knowledge of the gun. He told agents that the convicted felon had asked him for bullets previously.
Allen was then confronted with details from the May 3 recordings and was advised by federal agents that he was recorded discussing the gun's firing pin as well as telling the man that a throw down gun cost $100. He then changed his statement and "admitted selling the gun to the individual for $100 even though he knew the individual was a convicted felon." Allen also admitted that his earlier statements to federal agents were lies.
He told agents that "he came across the gun while working as a police officer, but rather than documenting the recovery of the weapon, he simply kept it," the document said.
Reagan allowed Allen to remain free on a $20,000 unsecured bond after Weinhoeft said he didn't see him as a flight risk.
He is set for sentencing at 10 a.m. Aug. 30.