Chamethele McKinney, 36, Troy, Illinois, pled guilty to her role in a conspiracy to defraud the government and evade the payment of federal income taxes, along with mortgage fraud and food stamp fraud.
McKinney, who was indicted by a federal grand jury on February 24, 2011, pled guilty to setting up nominee bank accounts and providing false information on mortgage documents to shelter her husband’s business income from a $952,706 IRS tax lien. The indictment alleged that Chamethele McKinney participated in opening third-party bank accounts that were used to divert assets from McKinney Hauling to pay personal expenses and conceal the funds from the IRS. McKinney also pled guilty to purchasing a home in Maryville, IL, solely in her own name by misrepresenting her income and employment status, when in truth and in fact the income used to pay for the home was diverted from her husband’s construction business. The home was featured in a Belleville News-Democrat article dated October 28, 2007, entitled “The McKinneys of Autumn Oaks: Living in a Dream Home.” McKinney also pled guilty to obtaining $5,295 in federal food stamps by misrepresenting her household income.
The crime of conspiracy to commit tax evasion is punishable by up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and not more than three years of supervised release upon release from prison. The crime of loan application fraud is punishable by up to 30 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine, and not more than five years of supervised release upon release from prison. The crime of making a false statement in connection with an application for federal food stamp benefits is punishable by up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and not more than three years of supervised release upon release from prison. However, the United States Sentencing Guidelines, as well as numerous statutory and factual matters, must be applied to the case and considered by the court during sentencing. Sentencing has been scheduled for November 18, 2011.
The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced the guilty plea.
The investigation was conducted by agents from the Internal Revenue Service, the Illinois Department of Health Care and Human Services, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Liam Coonan and Steven D. Weinhoeft.