Two Sentenced in Madison County Tax Sale Scheme

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By WSIL Manager
By Associated Press

EAST ST. LOUIS, IL (AP) - Two southwestern Illinois men snared in a price-fixing scheme orchestrated by a county treasurer have been sentenced to prison on federal antitrust convictions.

Fifty-six-year-old John Vassen of O'Fallon was sentenced Thursday in East St. Louis to two years in prison. Fifty-one-year-old Scott McLean of Belleville was ordered to spend a year and a half behind bars. Both men were fined $25,000.

Authorities say the two participated in then-Madison County Treasurer Fred Bathon's scheme to structure the county's tax sales to permit the tax buyers to charge distressed homeowners inflated interest rates from 2005-2008 in exchange for campaign contributions.

Authorities say Vassen and McLean each made nearly $700,000 in excessive interest during the purchases.

A third tax buyer, Barrett R. Rochman, 70, of Makanda, has also pled guilty to participating in the scheme. Rochman is scheduled to be sentenced on Mar. 25.

Bathon pleaded guilty in Feb. 2013 and is serving two and a half years in prison.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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