William A. Helm, a 56-year-old Chicago consultant, has been charged with one count of federal program bribery in federal court. According to the court documents, Helm allegedly corruptly offered money to an Illinois State Senator. Helm allegedly offered money to get approval for a suburban development project.
A federal jury returned the indictment to US District Court in Chicago on Thursday. Helm will be presented before US Magistrate Judge Sheila M. Finnegan on March 10, 2020, at 2:00 am. John R. Lausch, Jr., the US attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Emmerson Buie, Jr., the special agent-in-charge of the FBI’s Chicago office, and Kathy A. Enstrom, the special agent-in-charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation’s Chicago Division, announced the indictment.
Christopher J. Stetler and James P. Durkin, the assistant US attorneys, are representing the government in the case. According to the court documents, a construction company retained Helm and his consulting firm to assist in obtaining approval from the Illinois Department of Transportation. The indictment stated that the company applied for getting approval in 2017.
The indictment stated that Helm corruptly offered money to a senator from July 2018 to November 2018. Helm agreed to pay money to the senator in connection with IDOT approval of the project. The senator had the influence to get them the approval as he was the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee at that time, according to the indictment.
An indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. It is the responsibility of the government to prove the defendant guilty beyond any doubt. A single count of federal program bribery is punishable for up to ten years in federal prison upon conviction. The court will follow the US Sentencing Guidelines if Helm will be convicted on this charge.