A federal grand jury issued a 24-count indictment Thursday charging former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock with several counts of wire fraud and theft of government funds, among other charges.
Schock was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008 and served until his resignation on March 31, 2015.
The indictment alleges that from as early as 2008 and to as late as October 2014, Schock defrauded the government, his campaign committees and others for his personal benefit as well as the benefit of others.
Schock allegedly generated income to himself, which resulted in a loss of more than $100,000 to the government, his campaign committees and others, according to a news release.
In addition, Schock is charged with filing false income tax returns from 2010 through 2015, for failing to report additional income he received.
All of the counts charged in the indictment are listed below with the maximum statutory penalty for each respective charge:
- Wire Fraud: 9 counts with a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison
- Falsification of Federal Election Commission Filing: 5 counts with a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison
- Mail Fraud: 1 count with a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison
- Theft of Government Funds: 1 count with a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison
- False Statements: 2 counts with a maximum statutory penalty of 5 years in prison
- Filing False Federal Income Tax Returns: 6 counts with a maximum statutory penalty of 3 years in prison
“I appreciate the time and attention that the grand juries have given this matter, to thoroughly review the facts and the evidence and to reach this decision,” U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis, of the Central District of Illinois, said in a press release.
“These charges allege that Mr. Schock deliberately and repeatedly violated federal law, to his personal and financial advantage. Mr. Schock held public office at the time of the alleged offenses, but public office does not exempt him or anyone else from accountability for alleged intentional misuse of public funds and campaign funds.”
Before the indictment was issued, Schock’s defense team said it was expecting an indictment from federal prosecutors.
“This indictment will look bad, but underneath it is just made-up allegations of criminal activity arising from unintentional administrative errors,” Schock’s attorney, George Terwilliger, said in a statement to the Associated Press. "These charges are the culmination of an effort to find something, anything, to take down Aaron Schock.”
Schock resigned in March 2015 after he had come under intense scrutiny for questionable use of campaign and taxpayer money to fund a lavish lifestyle –most notably of which included extravagant travel habits which he documented on his Instagram account and a “Downton Abbey”-inspired redecoration of his congressional office.
The 35-year-old Republican had been considered a rising GOP star and had been elevated to the position of Senior Deputy Whip. The four-term congressman was reportedly under Congressional Ethics inquiries but those ended as a result of his resignation.
In a statement to the Associated Press Thursday, Schock said he never did anything intentionally wrong.
March 18, 2015: A predilection for social media and a jet-set lifestyle brings the political career of Congressman Aaron Schock, the once rising star of the Republican Party, crashing down. With reports that Schock over-billed taxpayers by misreporting travel expenses, could the young congressman be in real legal jeopardy?
March 17, 2015: U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock announced he will resign March 31. The announcement comes after multiple stories of questionable spending of taxpayer and campaign funds by the congressman.
Feb. 24, 2015: The Associated Press reported that U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) spent taxpayer and campaign funds on private planes owned by some of his key donors.