Jurors endure hours of tax testimony at Beavers' federal tax trial

March 18, 2013

Prosecutors in the federal trial of William Beavers on Monday showed jurors how the Cook County commissioner got hit with a nearly $28,000 tax bill in 2005, then reported no income from his campaign accounts for the three years that followed.

Beavers’ tax evasion trial centers on charges he spent $221,000 from his campaign and County Board accounts between 2006 and 2008, but lied on legal documents to cover his tracks and avoid paying taxes on the money.

Jurors endured hours of dry testimony Monday morning, as prosecutors led Beavers’ accountant, Philip Achusim, through a line-by-line explanation of four years’ worth of tax returns and earnings documents. The commissioner himself, dressed in a dark gray suit and crimson tie, sat expressionless.

But in showing Beavers’ return from 2005, the government is trying to strike at the heart of the defense’s main argument: The commissioner loaned himself the campaign cash and always intended to pay it back.

The government showed jurors that Beavers did claim $43,000 in campaign money as income in 2005, according to testimony from Beavers’ accountant, Philip Achusim. The government also showed how Beavers got slammed with a $27,814 tax bill that year, which took him years to pay off.

After 2005, Achusim testified, Beavers didn’t report any campaign cash on his tax returns.

Federal prosecutors also continued to hammer at Beavers for his gambling habit, highlighting his six digit gambling losses each year between 2006 and 2008.

A former worker at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind., testified last week that Beavers spent at least $500,000 a year playing slot machines.

The government said Monday it has several more witnesses to go through this week before the defense makes its case. Beavers’ lawyers have maintained the money he took out of his campaign accounts was in the form of loans, and so the commissioner doesn’t have to pay taxes on it. They also blame Cook County for failing to report as income Beavers’ $1,200 monthly stipend.