Feds want up to 18 months in prison for ex-state Sen. Thomas Cullerton

Federal prosecutors on Tuesday requested for up to 18 months for prison for ex-state Sen. Thomas Cullerton, revealing for the primary time that one other state senator’s suggestion helped Cullerton land a do-nothing job with the Teamsters union.

Cullerton, 52, a Democrat from Villa Park, was charged in 2019 in an indictment alleging he pocketed greater than 1 / 4 of one million {dollars} in wage and advantages from the Teamsters union regardless of doing little or no work. He pleaded responsible to embezzlement in March, two weeks after abruptly resigning from office.

In asking U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman to sentence Cullerton to up to a year and a half in prison, prosecutors mentioned in a courtroom submitting Tuesday that former Teamsters boss John Coli, Sr. instructed investigators he’d employed Cullerton to his do-nothing position “as a favor to Senator A, at Senator A’s request.”

“Coli knew it was wrong to pay Cullerton because he was a ghost payroller,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amarjeet Bhachu and Erika Csicsila wrote. “Only when Coli became concerned that the Independent Review Board, an investigative body within the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, would find out Cullerton was a ghost payroller, did he give the order for Cullerton to be fired.”

The state senator who gave the advice was not named in the submitting.

The prosecution memo additionally revealed for the primary time that after he was fired by Coli, Cullerton “went on to get another do-nothing job” with a video gaming company that made him the company’s solely salaried salesman, working first for $1,000 per week, which was later doubled to $2,000 per week.

“Even though his salary was doubled by the video gaming company, Cullerton brought in little if any business for the video gaming company,” the memo acknowledged. “He was kept on their payroll only until the current investigation went overt.”

Cullerton’s attorneys, in the meantime, requested Gettleman for a sentence of probation, writing in a courtroom submitting of their very own Tuesday that whereas he understands the “public scorn” surrounding the high-profile case, he’s “committed to making things right with the Teamsters and working hard for his family and community.”

“He will forever bear the stigma, public embarrassment, and financial and other costs associated with this felony conviction,” legal professional Daniel Collins wrote.

Collins mentioned that Cullerton “understood that he was not meeting the expectations of the job” and will have resigned as soon as he realized how tough it will be to stability the added duties along with his roles as a legislator and father.

“His decision not to resign right then and there will haunt him the rest of his life,” Collins wrote.

Gettleman has scheduled an in-person sentencing for Cullerton on June 21.

According to the indictment, Coli conspired with Cullerton in 2013 to give the newly elected senator a do-nothing job with the clout-heavy union. Over the subsequent three years, the 2 ignored complaints from supervisors when Cullerton failed to even present up for work, in accordance to the costs.

In all, Cullerton was accused of fraudulently acquiring practically $250,000 in wage, bonuses and different perks from the Teamsters between 2013 and 2016, together with cellphone and automobile allowances in addition to well being and pension contributions, in accordance to prosecutors.

Cullerton used the funds to pay personal bills, together with his mortgage, utilities and groceries, in accordance to his plea.

The fees in opposition to Cullerton got here three days after Coli pleaded responsible to extortion fees and agreed to cooperate with federal authorities. According to his plea settlement, Coli extorted a complete of $325,000 from Alex Pissios, president of Cinespace Chicago Film Studios on the West Side, by threatening a union work stoppage.

Coli’s sentencing has been delayed till after his cooperation in opposition to Cullerton was full.

Cullerton, who beforehand was village president of Villa Park, is a distant cousin of former Senate President John Cullerton. He was first elected to the state Senate in 2012.

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