Son of ex-state Rep. ‘Eddie’ Acevedo goes on trial, fights tax charges tied to Madigan probe

A son of former state Rep. Edward "Eddie" Acevedo went on trial in federal court Thursday, where he is accused of filing false income tax returns in a spinoff of the feds’ larger bribery investigation involving ComEd and former state House Speaker Michael Madigan.

The trial of Alex Acevedo, expected to last only a few days at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, is the first to result from that broader probe. It comes a little more than a month before the trial of four people who are accused of trying to bribe Madigan — a proceeding that will offer a peek at Madigan’s trial and could last as many as two months.

Alex Acevedo, his brother Michael Acevedo and their father were each charged with cheating on their taxes in separate indictments handed down in February 2021. Edward Acevedo pleaded guilty in December 2021 to tax evasion, admitting he cheated the federal government out of about $37,000. He was sentenced to six months behind bars and was released last month, records show.

Meanwhile, Michael Acevedo pleaded guilty last month to cheating on his taxes to the tune of an estimated $137,000. His sentencing is set for March 15.

Alex Acevedo has chosen to fight the charges in front of a jury.

During opening statements Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Chapman told jurors that Alex Acevedo reported just $21,015 in income for 2016 when he actually made more than $70,000.


"He simply didn’t declare more than $49,000 of that income," Chapman said.

The prosecutor said Alex Acevedo did the same thing in 2018, failing to report more than $16,000 to the IRS for that year. Chapman said Alex Acevedo thought he could get away with it because the money came from Michael Acevedo’s lobbying business, Apex Strategy LLC.

Apex, Chapman said, "was a virtual black box" that "concealed from the IRS all of the payments that the company had made" to Alex Acevedo.

But Alex Acevedo’s defense attorney, Ricardo Meza, said the feds’ "simple, uncomplicated case about greed" was really "about as simple as life is."

He said the case was "about the common man who’s doing the best he can under the circumstances. And it’s about the common man who has siblings. And it’s about the common man who sometimes makes errors."

Meza said the case is also about "whether [Alex Acevedo] intended to … be this greedy person" when he filed his tax returns for 2016 and 2018.

What’s unlikely to come up before the jury is the background of the case, revolving around the investigation that led to Madigan’s indictment last March. In October, the feds expanded their case against the once-powerful speaker with new charges that ensnared AT&T Illinois.

Among other things, Madigan and a longtime confidant are accused of working with AT&T Illinois’ then-president to have $22,500 paid to Edward Acevedo in an influence scheme. Edward Acevedo was not charged as part of that.

In court filings in Alex Acevedo’s case, Meza has described a February 2020 meeting between the feds and his client. Meza wrote that more than 75% of the questions asked were related to Madigan. He also 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 in November 2021, four months before Madigan was indicted.