EAST CHICAGO | Federal prosecutors are seeking four months of confinement for former East Chicago Public Library Director Manuel "Manny" Montalvo, who pleaded guilty in August to one of two counts of filing a false federal tax return.
"Public officials, who determine how to spend our tax dollars, have a heightened duty to comply with our nation's tax laws and pay their fair share," stated the sentencing memorandum filed Wednesday by the office of U.S. Attorney David Capp.
The request calls for community confinement, home detention or intermittent confinement.
Probation without some form of confinement should not be considered because Montalvo has a prior criminal record, according to the memorandum. The document said Montalvo was charged at the age of 23 in Morgan County with a felony count dealing more than 10 pounds of marijuana, which was reduced to a misdemeanor.
He was then convicted a few years ago of multiple misdemeanors after an altercation with transit police officers and was sentenced to 40 hours of community service.
"A short period of incarceration should be imposed to send a message to this defendant and others that there are consequences for filing false tax returns," according to prosecutors.
The plea agreement requires prosecutors to request a sentence at the minimum end of the guidelines.
Montalvo pleaded guilty to providing false information on his 2009 federal tax return by claiming $23,382 in unreimbursed business expenses. Specifically, Montalvo claimed business expenses for use of his vehicle, travel, meals, entertainment and other expenses in his position as library director.
However, the East Chicago Public Library Board already had reimbursed him for all employee-related expenses.
In addition, Montalvo admits to falsely claiming $17,063 in unreimbursed medical expenses, according to court documents.
Despite these admissions, Montalvo is suing East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland for unspecified damages, claiming he was illegally fired as library director because of his political support of former Mayor George Pabey, who is serving time in federal prison for conspiracy and embezzlement of public funds.
Montalvo claims Copeland replaced board members with those who would agree to fire him, and he lost his job March 14, 2011.