Mel Reynolds sentenced to 6 months for failing to file income tax

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Former congressman Mel Reynolds has been sentenced to six months in prison for failing to pay his taxes. (WLS)

Former congressman Mel Reynolds has been sentenced to six months in prison for failing to pay his taxes.

Reynolds was given two months credit for time already served.

The judge told Reynolds he'd "squandered" opportunities to become something better.

At Thursday's sentencing in Chicago, Judge Robert Gettleman alluded to how the 66-year-old had brought himself up from poverty in Mississippi to win a seat in Congress. Gettleman recalled thinking himself in the early 1990s about Reynolds' promise.

Earlier, Reynolds asked the judge for a year of probation. Reynolds asked Gettleman: "To put me in jail serves what purpose?"

The judge cited Reynolds' conviction in the mid-'90s for statutory rape and later convictions, including for concealing debts. He said it was a "tragedy" he'd "squandered the opportunities" he had.

For failing to file tax returns for income made while consulting for Chicago businessmen in Africa, prosecutors had asked for a two-year sentence.

WLS-TV contributed to this report.
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