A former U.S. congressman from Illinois who has been in legal trouble before is in legal trouble again — this time for allegedly not filing required federal tax returns for consecutive years.
A grand jury indictment unsealed Friday charges Mel Reynolds, a 63-year-old Chicago Democrat, with failing to file income tax returns for 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The brief, four-page indictment doesn't specify dollar amounts or offer other details, including sources of the purported income.
A Harvard graduate and a Rhodes Scholar, Reynolds resigned his 2nd Congressional District seat in 1995 after being convicted of statutory rape for having sex with an underage, 16-year-old campaign worker.
If convicted on the four tax counts, Reynolds faces a maximum one-year prison term on each count. A filing in U.S. District Court in Chicago later Friday set Reynold's arraignment for July 1.
The court docket doesn't list a defense attorney and just where Reynolds now resides wasn't immediately clear. Last year, he said he was in hiding in South Africa, telling reporters he feared for his life for threatening to expose allegedly illegal business dealings between American businessmen and Zimbabwe.
Reynolds was convicted in state court in the sex case in the 1990s. Later, he was convicted of fraud for concealing debts to obtain bank loans and diverting money intended for voter registration drives into his election campaign.
A series of congressmen have come under legal and ethical scrutiny in the 2nd District.
Reynolds himself unseated U.S. Rep. Gus Savage in 1992, two years after a House ethics committee determined that — during an official trip to Africa — Savage had made improper sexual advances to a female Peace Corps volunteer.
Jesse Jackson Jr., who succeeded Reynolds in 1995, ended up resigning himself in 2012 and then pleaded guilty to misusing $750,000 in campaign money.
Reynolds launched an ultimately failed bid to win back his old seat after Jackson's stepped down. At the time, he characterized his legal problems as "mistakes."