Former East Chicago library exec gets probation, home confinement for cheating on taxes
BY TERESA AUCH SCHULTZ firstname.lastname@example.org November 5, 2013 12:48PM
Manny Montalvo told a federal judge Tuesday that he has learned from his past mistakes and that integrity is now the most important thing in his life. | Post-Tribune File Photo
Updated: December 7, 2013 6:22AM
Former East Chicago Public Library Executive Director Manny Montalvo will serve 24 months of probation, including four months of home confinement, for lying about more than $30,000 of claims on his federal income tax return.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen also ordered Montalvo to pay a fine of $1,000. That is not part of his restitution, which will be handled by the IRS.
At Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, Van Bokkelen said he thought the former public servant got off somewhat easy with the sentence but that he deferred to the government. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Bell had asked for four months of probation, the minimum of the sentencing guidelines recommended and what the government had agreed to as part of a plea deal with Montalvo.
“You knew better,” Van Bokkelen told Montalvo at the end of the hearing. “It was a calculated decision you made.”
Montalvo pleaded guilty in August to lying on his federal taxes by increasing the amount of business expenses, about $23,000, and medical expenses, about $17,000, that he claimed on his taxes for 2009.
Montalvo, 38, apologized to the court for his actions and said he got caught up in drinking, eating out with people and always picking up the tab. He added the fraudulent claims to his taxes that year to help compensate. That decision has since ruined his life-long dream of having a career in public service, Montalvo said.
“When I had the opportunity, even though I did some good, I blew it,” he said.
Montalvo claimed he had lost sight of what was right and wrong but has since developed a new perspective on life.
“Integrity now is the most important thing in my life,” he said, adding that everyone in the case had treated him fairly.
His attorney, Ray Szarmach, asked that his client serve a year of probation with four months of confinement and said that Montalvo has learned from his mistake.
Bell credited Montalvo for his apology, which he said seemed sincere, but argued that Montalvo has been treated fairly before in prior criminal cases, including charges for battery and for maintaining a nuisance, that resulted in just misdemeanor convictions.
Bell also argued that Montalvo’s statements show he knew lying on his taxes was wrong.
“I sense from his comments that at the time that he was extremely arrogant,” Bell said.
Van Bokkelen told Montalvo that although he did not specifically use his public office as part of his crime, he still abused it by sending the message that public officials are tax cheats.