Former state senator Tom Cullerton pleaded guilty to embezzling union funds on Tuesday, becoming the latest Illinois lawmaker to be convicted of bribery.
Cullerton, 52, represented Illinois’ 23rd Senate district from 2013 to 2022 after serving as president and a trustee of Villa Park. Cullerton admitted in his plea deal that he “did little to no work” as an organizer for the Teamsters between March 2013 and February 2016, even though he received “nearly $250,000 in salary, benefits and reimbursement of medical expenses”.”
Cullerton is expected to be sentenced on June 21 by U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman.
While Cullerton could face a maximum of five years in prison following his conviction, the plea agreement says he is likely to serve between 12 months and 18 months in prison based on federal prison guidelines. of sentencing.
The DuPage County Democrat was indicted in 2019 on one count of conspiracy to embezzle a union and benefits plans, 39 counts of embezzlement of union funds and one count of misrepresentation .
Tom Cullerton was the last member of his family’s political machine to hold elected office in Illinois. The Cullerton dynasty began in 1871, when Ed Cullerton – the son of one of the tens of thousands of Irish immigrants who settled in Chicago – was elected alderman for the 6th ward on the South Side.
Tom Cullerton’s cousin John Cullerton served as President of the State Senate from 2009 to 2020.
Cullerton resigned from his seat on February 23 and indicated that he would no longer fight the criminal charges against him.
The plea agreement Cullerton signed requires him to repay $248,828 to Teamsters Joint Council 25 and the Teamsters Local Union 734 Health and Welfare Fund.
The plea deal will not require Cullerton to forfeit his home on Charles Avenue in Villa Park, as long as he makes an initial restitution payment of $25,000 by April 7. When Cullerton was charged, prosecutors placed a lien on this property.
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