A former Alorton and Fairmont City police officer accused of using TIF funds to pay for personal boating expenses and evading taxes pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday.
Harry A. "Dink" Halter Jr., 53, of Cahokia, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion, according to U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton.
In April, Halter was convicted of official misconduct in state court after forcing a female motorist to perform oral sex to avoid arrest in 2008. Halter was accused of making that traffic stop in the early morning hours outside of his jurisdiction after he had been drinking.
Halter also previously served as trustee with the Commonfields of Cahokia Public Water District and the director of Public Safety in Alorton.
A statement from Wigginton's office gave this account of the latest charges:
In 2009, Halter received a grant of $24,990 in tax increment financing toward the construction of a new fence to surround the perimeter of his tow yard, Town & Country Towing in Alorton.
Halter's wire fraud conviction came after he used $19,057.62 of those funds to pay personal expenses -- such as credit cards and for personal recreational boating expenses.
Halter was convicted of tax evasion for using his business to pay personal expenses, conducting personal and business transactions through the extensive use of cash, paying employees in cash and not reporting their wages to the Internal Revenue Service by not keeping accurate records of business transactions, and other acts of concealing his true income from the IRS for the purpose of limiting his tax liability. This conduct allowed Halter to avoid paying at least $128,719 in federal income taxes that he otherwise would have been required to pay.
Halter agreed to make full restitution to the IRS and the village of Alorton as a condition of his guilty plea.
He faces up to 20 years in prison on the wire fraud charge and up to five years in prison on the tax evasion charge. Halter is slated to be sentenced Jan. 9.
The investigation was conducted by agents from the IRS and FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft.