State Representative LaShawn Ford stands accused of 17 counts of bank fraud and lying to the bank. Federal prosecutors say the Chicago Democrat took out a line of credit worth a half million dollars starting in 2006 from the now-failed ShoreBank. Ford owns a real estate company.
Prosecutors say Ford said he’d use the money to rehab properties, but instead he allegedly used it to write checks to the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana, and pay for credit cards, car loans, and expenses for his own 2006 campaign.
Ford says he’s innocent - and says prosecutors tell a good story.
"There’s not one property that they could find that money - all the money wasn’t used to complete the task of the properties."
State board of elections records show Ford put nearly $175,000 of his own money into his campaign.
The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform's David Morrison says that's a lot.
"A hundred grand, $175,000 of their own money, you don't see that very often in these kinds of races."
- David Morrison
No court date has been set yet. Ford is the second Illinois state representative to be indicted on federal charges this year.
Illinois Public Radio's Tony Arnold and Amanda Vinicky contributed to this report