HAMMOND | An East Chicago councilman and police officer appeared Tuesday in Hammond federal court for his initial hearing on federal charges alleging he failed to file his taxes in 2008 and 2009.
Juda Parks, who is a police officer and city councilman in East Chicago, was indicted last week on two misdemeanor counts of willful failure to file tax returns. He agreed to plead guilty to the charges but has not yet formally done so.
As part of a proposed plea agreement, Parks agreed to pay more than $15,000 in unpaid taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.
Because Parks' charges are misdemeanors, he would not be forced to step down from his position on the East Chicago City Council if his plea is accepted by a federal judge. However, East Chicago Police Chief Mark Becker said last week that Parks will be subject to an internal affairs investigation to determine his future as a police officer.
Becker could not be reached Tuesday for comment.
Parks was not taken into federal custody Tuesday. U.S. District Court Magistrate Andrew Rodovich said Parks is subject to a $20,000 unsecured bond, which he has to pay only if he fails to appear for any court proceedings or violates conditions of his release.
Parks' attorney, John Cantrell, declined comment on the case Tuesday.
Parks' change of plea hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Jan. 8 in Hammond federal court.