State Rep. LaShawn Ford stands accused of 17 counts of bank fraud and lying to the now-failed ShoreBank. Federal prosecutors say the Chicago Democrat took out a line of credit worth $500,000 starting in 2006, thereby increasing his line of credit with the bank to $1,500,000.
In an indictment released Thursday, the U.S. Attorney's Office from the Northern District of Illinois alleges State Rep. LaShawn Ford, 40, said he would use the increase in the line of credit to purchase and rehab some properties, but instead used the money to pay off expenses from his 2006 campaign for state representative.
He also allegedly used it for payments to a casino in Hammond, Ind., credit cards, car loans and mortgages he held at the bank. Prosecutors allege Ford falsely inflated his personal income in obtaining the line of credit.
Ford operated Ford Desired Real Estate, Inc.
Thursday night, Ford met with reporters to deny the charges.
“They’re good writers,” he said, speaking about the prosecutors.
Ford said he’s innocent and that prosecutors tell a good story.
“There’s not one property that they could find that money was not used - all the money wasn’t used to complete the task of the properties,” he said.
A court date for Ford to formally enter his plea has not yet been set. Ford is the second sitting Illinois state representative to be indicted on federal charges this year.