Hillsboro restaurant owner sentenced to prison for tax evasion

MONTGOMERY COUNTY — Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced a 50-year-old Montgomery County business owner surrendered Friday to law enforcement after pleading guilty to evading more than $40,000 in sales tax payments to the state.

Long Clayton, of Hillsboro, pleaded guilty in Montgomery County Circuit Court to one count of sales tax evasion and one count of aggravated identity theft, both of which are Class 2 felonies.

Clayton was sentenced to three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections and agreed to pay restitution of $44,934.68 to the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) as well as $2,030.11 to Ameren Illinois.

As the owner of the Cozy Café in Hillsboro, Clayton allegedly convinced current and former employees to register the café under their names in order to use their Illinois business tax numbers to report sales in an attempt to evade paying more than $40,000 in taxes.

Clayton fraudulently used those business tax numbers due to his own business tax number being revoked by IDOR for delinquency in paying previous taxes.

Clayton also allegedly fraudulently used a Social Security number of a former employee with a developmental disability to open a utility account through Ameren Illinois.