Former Speaker Hastert pleads guilty to bank fraud charges

Hastert is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 29.
By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |  Oct. 28, 2015 at 11:16 AM
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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."

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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