A federal grand jury Thursday indicted Illinois Rep. LaShawn K. Ford on 17 counts of federal bank fraud and related charges in connection with allegedly trying to fraudulently obtain a $500,000 increase and a two-year extension on a line of credit from the failed ShoreBank.
The 8th District Democrat also allegedly tried to obtain multiple advances by making false statements about his intended use of the funds, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The 24-page indictment includes eight counts for bank fraud and nine for submitting false information to the bank, according to the release.
A date for his arraignment has not yet been set.
The indictment and news release are posted as PDFs.
The 40-year-old Ford, who operated Ford Desired Real Estate, Inc., and also invested personally in real estate, purportedly obtained bank funds to rehabilitate specific investment properties in the city, but instead used the funds to pay unrelated expenses, including, car loans, credit cards, other mortgages held at ShoreBank, payments to a casino in Hammond, Ind., and for his 2006 campaign for Illinois State Representative, according to the indictment.
The charges do not involve Ford’s position as a state legislator after he was first elected in 2006, according to the release.
The indictment seeks forfeiture of approximately $832,000, according to the release.
Each count of bank fraud and making false statements to a financial institution carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, and restitution is mandatory, according to the release.
Ford has represented Oak Park and the west side of Chicago, among other communities, in the General Assembly since 2007. He was re-elected to another term just earlier this month.
Efforts to reach him at his Chicago and Oak Park offices were unsuccessful. A message was left for him at his Springfield office.
UPDATE: Ford responded to the indictment later this afternoon in a letter to constituents and said he believes he is innocent of the charges. Ford said he would hold a meeting for constituents only today at 5 p.m. and again on Nov. 30 at 9 a.m. at his Chicago office, 5104 W. Chicago Ave. in Chicago.
Read the letter here.