Federal probe into Madison County tax auction scheme that put treasurer, donors in prison ends



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EDWARDSVILLE, Illinois — A federal investigation into rigged tax auctions that put the former Madison County treasurer and three accomplices in prison has apparently come to an end.

The Belleville News-Democrat (bit.ly/1DItyDD ) reports the office of southern Illinois federal prosecutor Steve Wigginton has told at least three county treasurers across Illinois that evidence previously turned over was no longer needed because the investigation is complete.

Fred Bathon received a 30-month prison sentence and was fined $20,000 after pleading guilty in 2013 to a price-fixing scheme involving county tax lien auctions from 2005 to 2009 on behalf of political donors who profited from inflated penalties paid by property owners.

A Wigginton spokesman declined comment. Bathon, the county and several officials remain defendants in a class-action lawsuit filed by other tax lien buyers.

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