A federal judge has sentenced Mississippi Rep. Earle Banks to two years probation for filing a false statement on his income tax form in 2020. The Jackson Democrat, who has served in the House since 1993, has paid $84,766 in restitution fees.
Then-acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi Darren J. LaMarca charged Banks for failing to report a $582,000 profit from the sale of his family’s land in 2018, an April 2023 federal charging document said. That year, Banks claimed to have an income of $38,237.
The House District 67 representative pleaded guilty to the charge in May 2023. He could have faced a prison sentence of three years. U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi Judge Carlton W. Reeves sentenced him on Nov. 27.
“I regret that I have found myself in this situation,” WAPT reported Banks saying on Nov. 27. “I regret and I apologize to the citizens of Mississippi, my family and my friends, and especially to the people of District 67.”
The Mississippi Constitution says state elected officials, including those serving in the Legislature, can keep their jobs even if convicted of tax fraud, IRS violations or manslaughter “unless the offense also involved the misuse or abuse of an office or money coming into a candidate’s hands by virtue of an office.” Officials charged with crimes like bribery and perjury cannot hold office.
Banks ran unopposed and won reelection on Nov. 7. He will serve another four-year term in the House.