U.S. Attorney’s Office February 20, 2013
WASHINGTON—Former Congressman Jesse L. Jackson Jr., 47, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to defraud his re-election campaigns of more than $750,000 in funds that were used to pay for a range of personal items and expenses, including jewelry, fur capes and parkas, high-end electronics, celebrity memorabilia, furniture, kitchen appliances, and a home renovation project.
Jackson, who has residences in Chicago and Washington, D.C., also admitted taking steps to conceal seven years of illegal activities, including the filing of false and misleading reports with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the U.S. House of Representatives.
Jackson’s wife, Sandra Stevens Jackson, 49, a former Chicago alderman, pleaded guilty in a separate proceeding to filing false tax returns for her role in the scheme.
The guilty pleas, which took place this morning in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, were announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr.; Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Richard Weber, Chief of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).
Jesse Jackson, Jr. pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and false statements. The Honorable Robert L. Wilkins scheduled sentencing for June 28, 2013. The charge carries up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and other penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, the parties have agreed that the applicable range for the offense is 46 to 57 months in prison and a fine between $10,000 and $100,000.
As part of the plea agreement, Jesse Jackson, Jr. will be required to pay any restitution ordered by the court and forfeit about $750,000 in proceeds and property from the scheme. Among other items, he must forfeit a mink cashmere cape; a mink reversible parka; a guitar signed by pop legend Michael Jackson; and various memorabilia associated with historic figures and various celebrities.
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Now why did they bust Jesse and Sandra? I mean really, was the crime not grandiose enough?