A 19-count federal indictment accuses former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of carrying out a scheme, hatched 11 years ago, to use his non-profit Kilpatrick Civic Fund to pay for personal and campaign expenses in violation of the law.
If convicted of the charges, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
The indictment says that Kilpatrick, 40, currently imprisoned for probation violation, used civic fund money to pay friends and relatives and for items ranging from countersurveillance and anti-bugging equipment to yoga and golf lessons, golf clubs and summer camp for his children.
Other expenses from the fund — which had a stated purpose of voter education and improving Detroit’s neighborhoods and image — included personal travel for Kilpatrick, moving expenses, car rentals and leases, and a personal residence, the indictment alleges.
Campaign expenses allegedly paid through the civic fund included public relations and consulting work.
Unreported taxable income of $640,000 charged
While Kilpatrick was mayor he received unreported taxable income of $640,000 between 2003 and 2008, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit.
The income included cash, private jet flights and personal expenses paid for by the Kilpatrick Civic Fund.
Kilpatrick is accused of filing false tax returns, failing to declare the income and failing to declare that income in the tax years 2003-2007. He is accused of evading taxes in 2008.
“It is important that public officials not escape prosecution just because they leave office,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in the statement announcing the indictment. “Public officials need to be accountable to deter them and others from cheating our citizens in the future.”
Detroit FBI Chief Andrew Arena said in a statement that the charges are part of a continuing investigation into “the corruption that has long plagued the City of Detroit.
He said the “FBI will continue to investigate and expose the public officials and their associates who participate in these schemes involving blatant greed.”
Kilpatrick is set to be arraigned July 13 at the federal courthouse in Detroit.
Ex-mayor serving 18 months at prison in Manistee
Kilpatrick is currently serving an 18-month sentence at a state prison in Manistee for violating his probation on obstruction of justice charges,
Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman John Cordell said Kilpatrick was at the Oaks Correctional Facility in Manistee.
“The Department of Corrections will work with the federal government to ensure Mr. Kilpatrick is at any proceedings he needs to be at,” Cordell said.
Kilpatrick was imprisoned for violating probation in the perjury case arising out of the text-message scandal that cost him his office.