Lawmaker pleads to misdemeanor; faced 17 felonies

MICHAEL TARM Associated Press Published:

Pleads: Illinois Rep. LaShawn Ford, who faced nearly 20 felony bank-fraud charges that could have landed him in prison for decades, pleaded guilty Monday to a single misdemeanor tax charge for shortchanging the Internal Revenue Service of $3,782. Prosecutors offered no explanation for the change of heart. As part of the deal, the 42-year-old Chicago Democrat pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Chicago to one new count of delivering a false federal income tax return, which carries a maximum sentence of a year behind bars. Prosecutors will dismiss the eight bank fraud counts and nine counts of submitting false information at Ford's Nov. 11 sentencing. A felony conviction would also have resulted in Ford automatically losing his seat in the Illinois Legislature.

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