ST. LOUIS, Mo. – A lawmaker getting paid to represent Missourians while living in Illinois has been the focus of several FOX 2 investigative reports. Now the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has charged Andrew Purcell, 36, with stealing by deceit.
The felony charge comes with one to seven years in prison, or less than a year in the county jail. He could also pay a fine of up to $10,000. The punishment may also include both imprisonment and a fine. A court of law will ultimately whether he is guilty.
Court documents state that he was appointed to the Bridgeton City Council in April 2018. He represented the second ward and his home address was listed in Bridgeton.
In 2020 Purcell was re-elected to the city council for another two-year term. Police say that he rented an apartment in Bridgeton from April 7, 2020, until June 4, 2021. His tenure as a city councilman ended on April 5, 2022, because he did not seek re-election.
Purcell signed a rental agreement for a property in Carterville, Illinois on November 5, 2021, and registered to vote in the state. Police say that he lives at the Illinois address.
”It is my contention, under oath, that I am a resident of Williamson County and have been since March 1 of 2021,” stated Purcell during an Electoral Board meeting in Williamson County, Illinois.
FOX 2 reporter Chris Hayes says that Purcell was trying to run for office in Williamson County, Illinois, about 140 miles away. The Republican Party there learned he was getting paid as a Bridgeton councilman, so they brought him into a court hearing to find out where he was really living.
Purcell did not notify city council members that he moved to another city or state. They are paid $500 per month. Moving to another state means that he should have stepped down from his elected position. He would have been paid a total of $6,000 while living in Illinois.