Metro-East News

Prosecutors go after Hamilton’s $23,000 state pension contribution

Former East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver Hamilton, sentenced to five years in federal prison for stealing taxpayer money intended for the poor, stands to lose his state retirement contributions of $23,252, according to a prosecutor’s motion filed in U.S. District Court.

Chief District Court Judge Michael Reagan was asked in paperwork filed Wednesday by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Hanna for an order to turn Hamilton’s retirement nest egg over to the clerk of the U.S. District Court to be applied to the $40,001 he was ordered to pay in restitution for wire fraud involving a no-limit township American Express card. Reagan has yet to rule on the motion.

Hamilton, 63, was allowed by court order to report on his own to serve his term. According to the Bureau of Prisons website Thursday, he has not yet been assigned to a prison.

Hamilton, also a former Democratic member of the St. Clair County Board, was ordered to resign all public positions and not attempt to access any public funds when he was pleaded guilty in Reagan’s courtroom in December.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Norm Smith originally proposed a sentence of a year and a day, which was amended to two years and finally to 30 months.

Reagan, in a 28-page sentencing memorandum, sited continued corruption in East St. Louis and compared the community to the devastating bombing of Dresden, Germany, in World War II. He called Hamilton’s crimes “staggering” because the money he stole was intended to help the poor.

“I can think of nothing worse than taking from the indigent,” Reagan said at sentencing. Upon release, Hamilton will be required to serve three years on supervised release.

The FBI investigation followed extensive investigative reporting by the News-Democrat in 2016 that showed that Hamilton personally charged $230,000 to the township’s credit card for such items as large amounts of building supplies, tires for his construction company’s tractor, trips to Las Vegas with his wife, $40,000 in gasoline, several thousand dollars to clean and detail his pickup truck, and hundreds of dollars to pay for gifts for friends and political cronies.

George Pawlaczyk: 618-239-2625, @gapawlaczyk