Facing his third prison term, a former Democratic congressman from Chicago said he’ll escape America by moving back to Africa after serving his latest sentence.
What were the charges?
Melvin Reynolds, 66, was sentenced to six months in prison Thursday for failing to file tax returns on more than $400,000 in earnings for consulting work between 2009 and 2012, according to published reports.
Most of the money came from Chicago businessmen asking for Reynolds’ help in securing business deals in Zimbabwe, reports state.
In September, a federal judge found Reynolds guilty on four misdemeanor counts of failing to file income taxes between 2009 and 2012.
“I’m done with America. I’m going to do this, and I’m going home — to Africa," Reynolds told reporters after the sentence, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Fox News reported that Reynolds also said: "I've given up on America because how long do African-Americans put up with this nonsense?”
Reynolds rose from poverty to become a Rhodes Scholar and a Harvard graduate.
During sentencing, federal Judge Robert Gettleman admonished Reynolds for wasting his talent.
“It's a tragedy that you squandered the opportunities you had and the type of person you could have become," Gettleman said.
Federal prosecutors were seeking a prison sentence of up to 27 months, based heavily on Reynolds’ prior convictions. Additionally, the U.S. Probation Office had recommended Reynolds serve a 10-month sentence to send a message to him that “he is not above the law,” according to reports.
Gettleman settled on the more lenient sentence after taking into account Reynolds’ age and that he lives in a motel, reports state.
Reynolds is expected to begin serving his sentence on Aug. 1. Gettleman said Reynolds will likely serve his time at either the Metropolitan Correctional Center or the Kankakee County Jail, where he was previously held.
Reynolds received two months credit for time he previously served for violating bond conditions in 2016, the report states. As a result, he will serve four months in custody to complete his sentence.
What were his prior convictions?
Reynolds’ two prior convictions relate to his time in Congress. In 1995, he was convicted for having sex with an underage campaign worker. In 1997, he was convicted in federal court on campaign and bank fraud charges, the Sun-Times reported.
Former President Bill Clinton commuted Reynolds’ federal sentence in 2001 with more than two years remaining. That allowed Reynolds to serve the rest of his sentence at a halfway house, according to the Sun-Times.