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Former US Congressman Indicted on Fraud, Theft Charges

  • VOA News

FILE - Former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., speaks to reporters in Peoria, Ill., Feb. 6, 2015. Schock has been charged in the 24-count indictment with fraud and theft.

FILE - Former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., speaks to reporters in Peoria, Ill., Feb. 6, 2015. Schock has been charged in the 24-count indictment with fraud and theft.

Former Illinois congressman Aaron Schock, once a rising star in the Republican party, was charged Thursday in a wide-ranging federal indictment that alleges he schemed to profit personally from his government job.

Schock, 35, resigned his seat last year as federal investigators dug into allegations of his questionable spending, including a Downton Abbey-style redecorating of his Capitol Hill office.

Schock’s swift downfall began in February 2015 when The Washington Post chronicled the unusual renovation of his Capitol Hill office, which his staff said was modeled after the PBS television series Downton Abbey. Staffers told the Post that the interior designer had done the work for free.

That report prompted a wave of inquiries into the congressman’s spending.

FILE - A staff member works at the office of Representative Aaron Schock on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 17, 2015. Schock resigned following questions about his use of taxpayer dollars.

FILE - A staff member works at the office of Representative Aaron Schock on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 17, 2015. Schock resigned following questions about his use of taxpayer dollars.

Schock reportedly spent $40,000 in government funds to redecorate his Washington office, including $5,000 on a chandelier, and asked the House to reimburse him for nearly $30,000 worth of camera equipment, prosecutors allege. The indictment says he ran up a $140,000 mileage tab over six years, reimbursements for 150,000 more miles than his vehicles actually traveled.

At a news conference Thursday, Schock said he intends to “not only prove these allegations false, but in the process expose this investigation for what it was.’’

Schock is charged in the 24-count indictment with nine counts of wire fraud, five of falsification of election commission filings, six of filing false federal income tax returns, two of making false statements and one each of mail fraud and theft of government funds.

A conviction on just one count of wire fraud alone carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence. His arraignment is set for November 21.

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