CHICAGO - Former state Rep. Edward "Eddie" Acevedo pleaded guilty to tax evasion Tuesday, having been caught up in the yearslong federal investigation revolving around former House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Acevedo entered his plea during a hearing held by video before U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly, scuttling a trial that had been set for next month. Acevedo admitted he failed as a self-employed consultant to keep sufficient accounting records, and he ultimately shorted the government by about $37,000 in taxes.
Kennelly set the former lawmaker’s sentencing for March 9.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported in June 2020 that Acevedo had been drawn into the federal corruption probe. Then, last February, prosecutors hit Acevedo and his sons, Michael and Alex, with separate indictments.
Michael Acevedo is set to go to trial in April, and Alex Acevedo is set to go to trial in June.
Though the indictments accused the Acevedos of cheating on their taxes, court records tied each of the indictments to the larger bribery case involving ComEd. Also indicted in that investigation are Madigan confidant Michael McClain, ex-ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, former ComEd lobbyist John Hooker and onetime City Club President Jay Doherty.
Edward Acevedo’s name also appeared in a subpoena sent to Madigan’s office in July 2020, the same day prosecutors accused ComEd of a bribery scheme that sent $1.3 million to Madigan’s associates as it sought to land Madigan’s support for legislation in Springfield.
Madigan has not been charged and denies wrongdoing.
Edward Acevedo’s defense attorney, Gabrielle Sansonetti, wrote in a court filing that prosecutors shared more than 100,000 pages of evidence in the tax case, including "copious financial documents including bank records, 1099s, invoices and tax returns or draft tax returns from 8 different individuals and 12 different companies spanning at least five years."
But filings in the case against Alex Acevedo seem to have shed the most light on the prosecution. His defense attorney, Ricardo Meza, wrote that all three Acevedos were served in 2019 with grand jury subpoenas that sought information about "work-related activities" as well as "Mr. Madigan and his associates."
Then, during a February 2020 meeting with prosecutors, more than 75% of the questions asked of Alex Acevedo were related to Madigan, Meza wrote. He alleged that, when Alex Acevedo’s answers didn’t "align with what the government sought to hear," an IRS agent began asking him about his tax returns.
"The only fishermen in this case are those men and women who have spent the last seven years of their lives and continue devoting endless amounts of time and resources to catch the now former Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives," Meza wrote.