UPDATE: Former Ill. Rep. Aaron Schock indicted

Aaron Schock
Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

UPDATE: The U.S.State’s Attorney announced Schock has been indicted on charges of fraud, theft and filing false income tax returns. Here are some of the allegations in the indictment:

Ø  From as early as 2008 and continuing to about October 2014, Schock received total mileage payments from the House and his campaign committees of approximately $138,663, for official and campaign-related travel. Assuming all of the miles driven on Schock’s vehicles were official and campaign-related, and no personal miles were driven during this time period, Schock allegedly caused the House and his campaign committees to reimburse him for approximately 150,000 miles more than the vehicles were actually driven.

Ø  In July 2014, Schock caused Schock for Congress to purchase a new 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe for him at a total cost of $73,896. Schock then caused the Tahoe to be titled in his name. To accomplish the purchase, Schock caused SFC to purchase his used 2010 Tahoe from him for $31,621. He then caused SFC to trade in the 2010 Tahoe with a $26,000 used car or trade-in allowance, and wrote a SFC check to the dealership for $73,896, thus causing a loss to SFC. As part of the scheme, and to conceal and cover it up, Schock allegedly caused SFC to file a false report with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that the entire $73,896 payment was for a transportation expense of SFC rather than the purchase of a vehicle for Schock’s exclusive use. Schock allegedly made no effort to reimburse SFC for his personal use of the 2015 Tahoe.

Ø  Schock allegedly caused the House to fraudulently reimburse him $29,021 for his September 2014 purchase of camera equipment. The equipment was for his use and the use of a congressional and campaign staff member who was also his personal photographer and videographer. In November 2014, Schock allegedly instructed the staff member to create and submit a false invoice for ‘multimedia services’ to Schock’s congressional office. After various changes to the invoice, it was submitted to the House, which authorized payment of $29,021 to the staff member. The funds were deposited in the staff member’s bank account and were later used by the staff member to make direct payments to Schock’s personal credit card account for the camera equipment purchase.

Ø  In late 2013, Schock allegedly accused a former staffer of inappropriately accessing a friend’s social media account and falsely advised the former staffer that the FBI and Capitol Police were investigating the matter. As a result of Schock’s accusation and false representation, the former staffer retained a lawyer and incurred legal fees of more than $10,000, which were paid by the former staffer’s father. Schock later acknowledged that his allegation of a law enforcement investigation of the matter was false and after being confronted by the former staffer’s father, agreed to reimburse the former staffer’s father for $7,500 of the legal fees. In February 2014, Schock allegedly wrote a check for $7,500 payable to the former staffer’s father. In April 2014, Schock had his political director issue a check from Gen Y to him in the amount of $7,500, which was falsely reported to the FEC as payment to a Washington D.C. attorney for legal fees incurred by Gen Y. In addition, Schock allegedly caused Gen Y to pay legal expenses that he personally incurred, and to file additional false reports with the FEC that the payment was for Gen Y’s legal fees.

Ø  In November 2014, Schock hired an Illinois decorator, who in 2010 had decorated Schock’s Peoria apartment and Cannon congressional office, to redecorate and provide furnishings for his Rayburn congressional office at a cost of approximately $40,000, including a $5,000 chandelier. Schock allegedly caused vouchers and claims to be submitted to the House totaling $25,000 to be paid to the decorator. In the submission of the vouchers and claims, Schock allegedly made false representations that the claims were, “for services to assist the member in setting up our district and DC offices” and, “includes using materials from our district and rearranging/designing/structuring the space to best suit the member and staff’s needs.” In addition, Schock caused his three campaign committees to pay a total of approximately $8,263 in additional costs for carpentry, paint, and travel and lodging expenses for the decorator/designer, who provided no product or service to these committees.

If convicted, the maximum statutory penalty for each offense charged is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as sentencing is determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. The table below lists the counts charged in the indictment and the maximum statutory penalty for each respective charge.

 

Number of Counts Charge Maximum Statutory Penalty
Nine Wire Fraud 20 years in prison
Five Falsification of Federal Election Commission Filings 20 years in prison
One Mail Fraud 20 years in prison
One Theft of Government Funds 10 years in prison
Two False Statements 5 years in prison
Six Filing False Federal Income Tax Returns 3 years in prison

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Aaron Schock, who resigned from his Illinois congressional seat last year amid scrutiny of his spending, expects to be indicted by a federal grand jury, his defense team said Thursday.

Schock’s attorney, George Terwilliger, called the expected charges a “misuse” of prosecutorial power by the Justice Department.

“This indictment will look bad, but underneath it is just made-up allegations of criminal activity arising from unintentional administrative errors,” Terwilliger said in a statement. “These charges are the culmination of an effort to find something, anything, to take down Aaron Schock.

Federal prosecutors in Illinois were expected to announce charges later Thursday.

Schock, a 35-year-old Republican from Peoria, had been under investigation after a spending scandal that included the elaborate remodeling of his Capitol Hill office in the style of the television series “Downtown Abbey.”

Once a rising star and prodigious fundraisers for the GOP, he resigned in March 2015 amid intensifying scrutiny over real estate deals, extensive travel that he documented on his social media accounts and other spending documented by The Associated Press and other media outlets. The reports raised questions about improper mileage reimbursements, trips on donors’ aircraft and more.

The former congressman downplayed the allegations in June, saying any wrongdoing was “honest mistakes.”

In his own statement Thursday, which was obtained by The Associated Press, Schock said he never intentionally did anything wrong and that he was eager to defend his name and reputation.

“As I have said before, we might have made errors among a few of the thousands and thousands of financial transactions we conducted, but they were honest mistakes — no one intended to break any law,” he said.

The charges are the culmination of 19-month investigation that included two grand juries that Schock said “poked, prodded, and probed every aspect of my professional, political, and personal life.”

“Like many Americans, I wanted to have faith in the integrity of our Justice Department,” he said. “But after this experience, I am forced to join millions of other Americans who have sadly concluded that our federal justice system is broken, corrupt, and too often driven by politics instead of facts.

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