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Former Speaker Hastert pleads guilty to bank fraud charges

Hastert is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 29.

By Ed Adamczyk
Former Speaker Hastert pleads guilty to bank fraud charges
Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert arrives at Federal Court for his arraignment on charges that he evaded banking regulations and lied about it to the FBI, on June 9 in Chicago. File photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo

CHICAGO, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert pleaded guilty Wednesday in Chicago to bank fraud charges connected with what prosecutors say is a sexual misconduct matter.

His indictment says Hastert, 73, a former Republican Congressman from Illinois and House Speaker from 1999 to 2007, broke banking laws and lied to investigators. He agreed to pay hush money amounting to $3.5 million to an unidentified person to hide his "past misconduct."

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No details were provided Wednesday regarding what led Hastert to withdraw nearly $1 million in cash from four bank accounts over a two-and-a-half-year period.

A federal law enforcement official has said "Individual A," as he has been identified, is a former male student who alleges Hastert molested him when Hastert was a teacher and wrestling coach in the 1980s.

In court Wednesday, Hastert, before pleading guilty, said, "I didn't want them [bank officials] to know how I intended to spend the money ... I withdrew the money in less than $10,000 increments."

A Feb. 29 sentencing hearing was scheduled. Prosecutors said they will recommend a six-month jail sentence.

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