Ex-lawmaker Jesse Jackson Jr charged with fraud

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 February, 2013, 5:12pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 February, 2013, 5:23pm

US prosecutors filed fraud and conspiracy charges on Friday against former US congressman Jesse Jackson Jr, who stands accused of diverting US$750,000 of campaign funds for his personal use.

As part of a sweeping investigation into Jackson’s misuse of funds, his wife Sandra Jackson was also charged with submitting false tax returns, according to documents filed in US Federal Court in Washington.

Jackson, an Illinois Democrat who resigned in November after 17 years in the House of Representatives, struck a plea deal with prosecutors, and he faces up to 57 months in prison, the Chicago Sun Times reported. Sandra Jackson also reportedly struck a plea deal.

Jackson’s lawyers released a statement in which he apologised for his mistakes.

“Over the course of my life I have come to realise that none of us are immune from our share of shortcomings and human frailties,” the statement said, according to NBC News.

“Still I offer no excuses for my conduct, and I fully accept my responsibility for the improper decisions and mistakes I have made.”

Jackson used some of the money to purchase children’s furniture, fur capes and a US$43,350 gold-plated Rolex watch, according to prosecutors.

Jackson is charged with conspiracy, making false statements, and mail and wire fraud, according to the charging document.

The former lawmaker is a son of Reverend Jesse Jackson, a civil rights activist who ran for president in 1988.