Because of a scheduling problem, U.S. District Court Judge E. Richard Webber again has delayed former St. Clair Fire Protection District Chief and Treasurer Eric Hinson’s sentencing hearing.
The new date is 9 a.m. on Thursday, June 13, in Webber’s courtroom in St. Louis, or one week later than the first extension granted at the beginning of the month.
Hinson originally was scheduled to be sentenced on May 2, but Webber granted an extension to Hinson’s attorneys and first delayed the hearing until June 6.
Webber is the federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.
The notice on the case of USA vs. Hinson from Webber’s office, dated Thursday, stated that “due to a scheduling conflict with this court’s calendar, sentencing hearing of defendant Eric Hinson will he held on June 13, 2013, at 9 a.m., not June 6 as previously scheduled. So ordered by Judge E. Richard Webber.”
In February, Hinson pleaded guilty to one felony count of fraud and five felony counts of tax evasion. The 43-year-old appeared before Webber and entered his plea. It was then that his sentencing originally was set for May 2.
When he is sentenced, Hinson’s maximum prison time could be 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000 for the fraud charge. Each count of tax evasion carries a maximum penalty of five years and a fine of up to $100,000.
In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith is handling the case.
On Jan. 9, Hinson was indicted on fraud and multiple tax evasion charges involving his alleged misuse of about $593,236 of district funds between January 2006 and September 2011. Last September, it was revealed that only Hinson was involved in the fire district investigation that was spearheaded by the U.S. District Attorney’s Office and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation unit.
Additionally, Hinson filed false tax returns for the years 2006 through 2010, leaving total additional taxes due of $132,383, a press release stated.
The St. Clair Police Department also was involved in the investigation.
The St. Clair Fire Protection District primarily is funded by public funds, through real estate tax, personal property tax and sales tax.