A former candidate who Democrats touted as a rising star in Florida politics has been slapped with federal fraud charges.
The Department of Justice announced that Andrew Gillum was indicted on Wednesday.
The former mayor of Tallahassee lost to Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial election.
The charges outline allegations of financial impropriety against Gillum.
Federal prosecutors are accusing Gillum and one of his associates, Sharon Janet Lettman-Hicks, of conspiring “to commit wire fraud, by unlawfully soliciting and obtaining funds from various entities and individuals through false and fraudulent promises and representations that the funds would be used for a legitimate purpose,” according to the release.
In addition, Lettman-Hicks allegedly disguised these funds as payroll payments for Gillum’s use.
Gillum and Lettman-Hicks both face nineteen counts of wire fraud, and a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Gillum is also charged with making false statements to FBI agents.
The charges follow a lengthy federal investigation into Gillum.
Wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud are punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Gillum was found inebriated with two men in a Miami Beach hotel in 2020, after a call to police led to concerns of a drug overdose. Bags of suspected methamphetamine were found at the scene.
Gillum was found at the scene with a reputed male escort, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. Miami Police photos of the scene showed a hotel room filled with pills.
The former Tallahassee mayor is proclaiming his innocence in response to the federal indictment.
Andrew Gillum, the once-rising Florida Democratic star who narrowly lost his 2018 gubernatorial race against Ron DeSantis, has told associates that he expects to be indicted in federal court as early as today for alleged fraud tied to his campaign, NBC News has learned.
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— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) June 22, 2022
Florida has gravitated from being a swing state to more reliably Republican since Gillum’s 2018 defeat.
The state, which voted to elect former President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, was once the most competitive in the country.
Former President Donald Trump won Florida by an increased margin of victory in 2020, in comparison to 2016.
Some have pointed to DeSantis’ 2018 victory over Gillum as fundamental to the political transformation of the state.
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