(NBC News/WFLA) — A federal grand jury Wednesday returned a 21-count indictment against Andrew Gillum, the once-rising Florida Democratic star who narrowly lost his 2018 gubernatorial race against Ron DeSantis.
The indictment alleges Gillum committed wire fraud between 2016 and 2019 by taking funds from various entities and individuals by making “false and fraudulent promises and representations” that the funds would be used for a legitimate purpose, according to a news release from the Department of Justice.
The Indictment also alleges Gillum used third parties to divert some of the funds to a company owned by Sharon Lettman-Hicks, 53, of Tallahassee, who then fraudulently provided the funds, disguised as payroll payments, to Gillum for his personal use.
Gillum and Lettman-Hicks were both charged with 19 counts of wire fraud. Gillum was also charged with making false statements to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the news release added.
“I have spent the last 20 years of my life in public service and continue to fight for the people,” Gillum said hours before the charges were announced. “Every campaign I’ve run has been done with integrity. Make no mistake that this case is not legal, it is political. Throughout my career I have always stood up for the people of Florida and have spoken truth to power. There’s been a target on my back ever since I was the mayor of Tallahassee. They found nothing then, and I have full confidence that my legal team will prove my innocence now.”
The maximum terms of imprisonment for the offenses are as follows:
- 5 years: Making false statements
- 20 years: Conspiracy to commit wire fraud
- 20 years: wire fraud