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Former state senator Terry Link from Vernon Hills pleads guilty to federal tax evasion

Undated photo of Illinois State Senator Terry Link.

Terry Link, the state senator from Vernon Hills who resigned last weekend, has pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion for underreporting his income.

Link, 73, of Vernon Hills, was charged in the U.S. Northern District Court of Illinois on August 13 with one count of filing a false tax return.

He pleaded guilty on Wednesday and admitted to underreporting his income for several years from 2012-2016.

The IRS lost at least $71,133 and to the Illinois Department of Revenue lost at least $11,527 due to the underreporting, the plea agreement said.

For the calendar year 2016, Link admitted that he underreported approximately $93,859, approximately $73,159 of which was money from a campaign fund – Friends of Terry Link – that Link spent on personal expenses, prosecutors said.

Link faces up to three years in federal prison. He has agreed to pay back the $71,133 to the IRS and $11,527 to the Illinois Department of Revenue.

A charging document from August alleged that Link reported $264,450 in income on his 2016 tax return to the IRS despite his income “substantially exceeding” that amount.

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Link was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996 and represented the 30th Legislative District, which covers parts of Waukegan, North Chicago, Mundelein, Vernon Hills, Lincolnshire and other towns.

Link was a member of the Legislative Ethics Commission but resigned in August after being charged. He had also been the head of the Lake County Democratic Party since 1992.

In a letter addressed to the Secretary of the Senate, Link announced his resignation as a state senator effective last Saturday.

U.S. District Judge Robert M. Dow Jr. did not immediately set a sentencing date. A status hearing was set for March 30.

The Chicago Tribune reported in 2019 that Link wore a wire for the FBI in a bribery investigation of his then colleague, Rep. Luis Arroyo. At the time, Link repeatedly denied being the senator who cooperated with the FBI.


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