Mass. politician convicted of extortion was also tax dodger

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Newly unsealed court documents show that former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson had far more issues than just the extortion conviction she earned for taking $23,500 in bribes from a Boston businessman-turned-FBI informant.

Following her arrest on public corruption charges, Wilkerson resigned from the Massachusetts Senate in November 2008, after serving 16 years as one of its most high-profile members.

The court documents made public this week show that Wilkerson had also failed to report “gifts” she solicited in 2004 to help settle an old tax bill.

After agreeing to pay the IRS over $80,000 for unpaid income taxes dating back to 1991 through 1994, Wilkerson solicited a number of benefactors to help bail her out, having cleared the plan with the state’s ethics commission.

Under the pretense of paying off the IRS, Wilkerson quickly raised $115,750 in the first half of 2004. After paying the IRS $80,000, Wilkerson spent at least $20,000 of the money on furniture, paying down credit cards, making mortgage payments and handing out checks to her children.

Among those who gave her $10,000 each were developer Arthur M. Winn, Senate Majority Leader William “Biff” MacLean Jr., Partners HealthCare Chairman John “Jack” Connors and lawyer Thomas R. Kiley.

“It is unclear whether her solicited ‘donors’ knew that she ended up with a net profit from this solicitation, or whether they were defrauded by her claims that the funds would be used to pay the outstanding tax debt,” the records state.

Although gifts are considered taxable income, Wilkerson neglected to report any of the monies to the IRS. The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined comment on whether she would face new charges on tax evasion, according to The Boston Herald.

Wilkerson was sentenced last week to 3 ½ years in prison.

After her sentencing, Wilkerson told the press that the government’s action against her was “the most corrupt and outrageous abuse of the justice system.” Although she said she accepted her sentence, she added “My acceptance can’t negate the despicable actions of the government and its collaborators.”

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