Annazette Collins has been charged with failing to report income and underreporting income after a grand jury decided to indict her just recently. Collins is facing a five-count indictment related to her political consulting firm. The federal government accused Collins of willfully attempting to hide income streams for the purpose of avoiding taxes.
The charges stem from a bribery probe involving embattled former Congressman Michael Madigan. Collins is the latest collateral damage in the corruption probe that is still ongoing. Collins left office in 2013 as a Democrat. She was then hired by Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) after her retirement. An attorney for Collins characterized the charges as a “blatant attempt to squeeze Collins” for information concerning the ComEd case. That is probably true. It is unlikely that Collins would have faced these charges (at least now) if there was not a more important case that might involve her.
Collins is not the only former Congressperson facing charges related to ComEd. Recently, Ed Acevedo and his three sons pleaded not guilty in relation to similar charges. If convicted, Collins could spend three years behind bars.
Assessing the Charges
Tax defense lawyers operate their own specialized practices, so criminal defense attorneys tend not to get a lot of cases concerning them. However, tax fraud, which is being alleged here, is a crime, and it does carry potential prison time. In this case, the feds did not likely have Collins in their crosshairs until it became known that she too was employed by ComEd. Collins reported her gross personal income as just over $10,000 for two years running between 2015 and 2016. The feds ignored that until recently when Collins became associated with this ComEd corruption scandal. So, extorting Collins using these charges is the most likely explanation for why we are hearing about it now as opposed to five years ago when this supposedly happened.
That being said, the feds may have caught up with Collins eventually anyway. Her underreporting of her income would have been something that the IRS red-flagged. It is also true that the IRS tends to go after those who owe the most money. It is unclear how much money Collins is accused of owing the federal government.
Controversy surrounded Collins’s tenure in the Illinois Senate. She was accused of misappropriating scholarship money by offering scholarships to kids outside of her district. In one case, she offered a scholarship to someone who later moved to Texas. Those funds were earmarked for University of Chicago students.
Her lawyer is likely correct in believing that the feds are attempting to leverage her cooperation. It is a near certainty that they will offer a plea bargain in exchange for information that leads to the conviction of any of the other ComEd players.
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David Freidberg represents the interests of those charged with crimes in the Chicago area. Call our office today at (312) 560-7100 and allow us to begin preparing your defense immediately.