Ex-Illinois Lawmaker Pleads Guilty to Federal Tax Charge

An undated photo of Illinois State Senator Terry Link from his official website.

Former longtime Illinois state Sen. Terry Link pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal tax charge.

The Democrat, who resigned last week, had been in office since 1997. He’s the latest state legislator to be charged in the federal government’s ongoing criminal investigations into public corruption in Illinois.

Link, 73, appeared before U.S. District Judge Robert Dow via video during a roughly 45-minute hearing. He's accused of underreporting his income from 2012 to 2016 and pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false tax return.

According to Wednesday's 18-page plea agreement, Link listed his 2016 tax return income as $264,450 when it was at least $358,000. He also admitted to spending more than $73,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses, among other things.

Overall, his underreported income caused the IRS and Illinois Department of Revenue about $83,000 in lost tax revenue, according to the plea agreement. Link has agreed to pay restitution.

When Dow asked Link's plea on the tax charge, Link said, "Guilty, your honor,” according to The Chicago Tribune.

Link would face up to 16 months in prison under preliminary sentencing guidelines, but federal prosecutors said Wednesday that they intend to recommend probation if Link fully cooperates with the government.

A status hearing has been set for March 30.

His plea comes after several other state lawmakers were charged.

Among them was former state Rep. Luis Arroyo, a Chicago Democrat, who pleaded not guilty in February to bribery allegations. He’s accused of paying a bribe to an unnamed state senator in exchange for support of a gambling bill that would have benefited a lobbying client.

He resigned in November, a week after his arrest. In announcing the bribery charge, federal prosecutors revealed that the unnamed state senator had been cooperating with them since 2016.

Link has previously denied to reporters that he was the unnamed state senator. The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, citing anonymous sources, have identified Link as the unnamed senator.

A phone message left Wednesday for Link wasn’t returned.

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