Check kiting gets husband of politician 5-month term

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CHICAGO (AP) – The husband of an Illinois congresswoman was sentenced Wednesday to five months in federal prison for a check-kiting scheme and failing to pay withholding taxes.

Robert Creamer, 58, also faces 11 months of house arrest once he finishes his sentence. His wife, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

“First and foremost, I want to apologize for my actions,” Creamer told U.S. District Judge James B. Moran.

In issuing the sentence, the judge said that Creamer had acted not to get money for himself but to keep a public interest group he had founded from going broke, and that neither the banks nor the government had suffered any “out-of-pocket loss” as a result.

“But in our system, ordinary folks, if they get caught kiting checks or not paying their taxes, they end up going to jail,” Moran said.

He said the fact that Creamer had “caused a lot of well- connected people to think very highly of him does not seem to me to be a basis for treating him differently from anybody else.”

Creamer, who ran a public interest group in the 1990s, was accused of caused a series of insufficiently funded checks and wire transfers to be drawn on accounts he controlled as executive director of the Illinois Public Action Fund. He was accused of using the inflated balances to pay the group’s expenses.

He pleaded guilty to one count each of bank fraud and failure to collect withholding tax. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped several other counts.

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