A Carbondale area man has been sentenced for his role in a multi-million dollar tax scheme in Madison County involving former county treasurer Fred Bathon. 71 year old Barrett Rochman of Makonda pleaded guilty Tuesday for his role in violating the Sherman Antitrust Act and will serve 16 months in prison. Bathon, for his role, was sentenced to 30 months in jail.
Authorities say from 2005 to 2008 during the delinquent property tax auctions in Madison County, Rochman and at least two other top tax buyers would receive preferential treatment from treasurer’s office staff and their bids would be accepted first, usually at the highest percentage of 18-percent, costing those who were past due on their taxes even more money. Rochman and the others would then contribute to Bathon’s political campaigns in exchange for winning many of the tax sales. Prosecutors say it is difficult to calculate exactly how much money Madison County taxpayers lost in the scheme. Bathon resigned in 2009 amid allegations of wrongdoing and the tax auction process has been reformed to eliminate similar situations in the future.
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