SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A former Illinois lawmaker was expected to plead guilty Wednesday to allegedly spending thousands of dollars in scholarship money raised through a golf charity on herself and her political campaigns, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Springfield said.
Former state Rep. Constance Howard, a Democrat who resigned last year amid reports of a federal investigation, was expected to waive formal indictment and plead guilty to a one count of wire fraud before U.S. Magistrate Judge Byron Cudmore in Springfield. One count of wire fraud carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence.
A message seeking comment from Howard’s attorney, Michael Metnick, wasn’t immediately returned Wednesday afternoon.
A court document filed by prosecutors on July 17 accuses Howard, 70, of fraudulently raising funds between 2003 and 2008 through a charity called “Tee Off For Technology Celebrity Golf Outing.” The annual event grew out of the tax-exempt “Tee Off for Technology” organization, which Howard founded in 2003.
Between 2003 and 2007 Howard raised $76,000 by telling donors the money would go to pay for computer-science and other similar scholarships. Only five scholarships worth a total of $12,500 were actually dispersed; Howard ended up using around $28,000 for personal and political use, the document says.
Howard represented the Chicago-area’s 34th district and resigned on July 6, 2012, for what she described as “personal reasons.” She had served as chairwoman of the Illinois House’s computer technology committee.
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