An unlicensed plumber and buddy of Cicero Town President Larry Dominick was sentenced to six months in jail Thursday for not paying taxes on money he received from a lucrative, no-bid deal with the town.
George Hunter pleaded guilty in December to dodging more than $400,000 in taxes. Hunter, whose sewer business received more than $1.8 million from Cicero taxpayers without a contract, admitted his guilt on two counts of tax evasion without any formal agreement with prosecutors.
Hunter also received three years of supervised release including six months on home detention with electronic monitoring.
“You made a lot of money here, and you didn’t pay your taxes on it like you should have,” U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve told Hunter.
Hunter said he was “deeply sorry.”
“I’ll never get the felony off my record. Sixty years without a felony. That’s a shame,” he said.
He blamed it on his “stupidity.” He shook as the judge was about to hand down the sentence.
When he was first indicted in 2013, his lawyer told the Chicago Sun-Times that Hunter was targeted by the feds only as payback because he’d refused to cooperate with the FBI against Dominick. The town president’s political opponents have repeatedly alleged that Dominick was a partner in Hunter’s Superior Sewer Solution, which failed to pay taxes in 2007 and 2008.
Dominick has denied it.
But Hunter, 60, took full responsibility for his crime in paperwork filed by his attorney earlier this week. He wrote in a letter to St. Eve that he “went wild” with the money he made from Cicero, flying to Las Vegas every month and visiting Horseshoe Casino almost every day, ultimately becoming a Seven Star member.
“I just loved the glamour, the lights,” Hunter wrote. “And through all that, I blew off the IRS.”
Rose Lindsay-Guimaraes, Hunter’s attorney, told the judge in a court filing that her client grew up with an abusive father, dropped out of school at ninth grade and started betting on the ponies as a teenager.
“By the time he was an adult, gambling was his ‘fix,’” Lindsay-Guimaraes wrote.
And once he began making big bucks in Cicero, she said he moved on to the casinos — buying in for $5,000 on a typical day.
“He’d wake up, get money and head to the casino with employees or friends,” Lindsay-Guimaraes wrote.
Hunter’s attorney asked the judge to give him probation, explaining that he’d agreed to attend Gamblers Anonymous and that he would use his freedom to pay his tax liability and child support debt. Prosecutors asked the judge to throw Hunter in prison for at least two years.