WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US Representative for Pennsylvania Chaka Fattah and his four associates have been charged with racketeering in a 29-count indictment, US Assistant General Leslie Caldwell said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Congressman Fattah and his associates embarked on a wide-ranging conspiracy involving bribery, concealment of unlawful campaign contributions and theft of charitable and federal funds to advance their own personal interests,” Caldwell said.
In 2007, Fatah, who failed to become a Philadelphia mayor, arranged repayment of $600,000 borrowed for the election campaign using charitable and federal grant funds. He also planned a scheme to repay $130,000 to a political consultant by using the award of a federal grant, the Justice Department said.
Moreover, the congressman used his mayor and congressional campaigns funds to repay his son’s student loan totaling $23,000, according to the statement.
“These crimes and the subsequent elaborate cover-up constitute an egregious breach of public trust,” Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Edward Hanko said.
Fatah’s associates who have been charged include Palm Beach, Florida lobbyist Herbert Vederman, Philadelphia congressional district director Bonnie Bowser, Robert Brand and Karen Nicholas from Williamstown, New Jersey, according to the statement.
The FBI and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation continue to probe the case.