Political operative Bill Miller takes plea on tax evasion charges

Bill Miller, right, shown here at a 2017 fundraiser for Philadelphia City Councilman Derek Green, second from right.

Bill Miller, right, shown here at a 2017 fundraiser for Philadelphia City Councilman Derek Green, second from right.

William R. Miller V, a Philadelphia-area political consultant with ties to jailed former Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams and an influential local labor union, will plead to a felony tax evasion charge, according to court records. 

A charging document filed by U.S. Attorneys earlier this month alleged that the Glenside-based operative failed to file tax returns between 2010 and 2014 and later engaged in a check-cashing scheme to conceal his true income. 

After learning of a federal investigation into his finances, the indictment asserts that Miller had “made false and deceptive statements” to an accountant retained to resolve his tax issues.

Miller has since agreed to plead guilty to the tax evasion charge in court next week, a charge that carries a maximum fine of $100,000 and up to five years in jail.

Former U.S. Attorney William DeStefano noted that the lack of an indictment indicated that Miller had worked out a deal with the feds, perhaps in connection with Williams’ case or another investigation.

“Since it’s a felony, they would normally proceed with an indictment, unless the defendant waives that right, which it appears he did,” DeStefano said. “That’s a sure sign there was a plea agreement between Miller and the government.”

The son of the late political operative William R. Miller IV, the younger Miller specializes in campaign consulting and minority business contracting. A well-known operative locally, Miller had previously performed political services for Williams, who was convicted by federal prosecutors on bribery charges last year. 

Notably, the U.S. Attorneys attached to Miller’s recent tax evasion case had also helped prosecute the case against Williams. But the former DA abruptly pled guilty mid-trial and Miller never took the stand.

Since then, Miller has continued to perform lucrative consulting work for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98, earning nearly $550,000 over four years. The politically powerful union has been subject to an ongoing federal investigation in recent years. 

A union source denied any connection between that investigation and Miller’s plea deal. But DeStefano wasn’t so sure.

“He may be cooperating in that investigation as well,” he said. 

DeStefano added that whatever investigation Miller’s plea is linked to has almost certainly concluded.

“Sometimes they will file these documents under seal when they don’t want people to know that there’s still an investigation going on. That’s not happening here.”

Miller’s lawyer did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia declined to comment on the case.