From CBS 2 Chicago:
In a rare and surprising move, federal prosecutors have dropped 17 felony bank fraud charges against state Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago), and allowed him to plead guilty instead to a single misdemeanor tax charge.Technorati tags: Illinois Democrats chicago current events Cook County Illinois Politics corruption cronyism graft legal crime
In November 2012, Ford was indicted on 17 felony counts of bank fraud and submitting false information to the now-defunct ShoreBank. The feds alleged he got a $500,000 extension on a line of credit for his real estate business in 2006, then used the money to pay off personal and campaign expenses – including car loans, credit card bills, mortgage payments, and gambling.
However, on Monday, Ford, 42, pleaded guilty to only a single misdemeanor count of filing a false income tax return for 2007, and prosecutors dropped all other charges.
The misdemeanor count carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $100,000 fine, although the plea anticipates a recommended sentence of zero to six months in jail, and as a first time offender, probation is more likely. Added together, the 17 felony counts would have carried a penalty of up to 510 years in prison and a fine of up to $17 million. A felony conviction also would have meant Ford would have lost his seat in the Illinois House’s 8th District.