Illinois Gov. Blagojevich Adviser Indicted in Kickback Scheme

A top adviser and fundraiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been indicted on charges of scheming to collect "millions of dollars in undisclosed kickbacks" involving the Illinois Teachers Retirement System, federal prosecutors disclosed Wednesday.

Businessman Antoin "Tony" Rezko was charged in the federal indictment with operating a fraud scheme along with millionaire political contributor Stuart Levine and other insiders.

The indictment was unsealed Wednesday morning. U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald was to announce details at an afternoon news conference.

The indictment said that Rezko, Levine and others schemed to get kickbacks from consultants who represented those seeking business from the pension plan.

Levine and two other men including Joseph Cari, a former finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee, had already been charged.

Rezko's whereabouts were a question mark as the indictment was unsealed. He has been reported to have been traveling in the Mideast.

His attorney, Joseph Duffy, said in an interview Tuesday night with The Associated Press that he did not know Rezko's whereabouts. He said he had spoken with Rezko by phone last week but did not know where he was then.

Blagojevich, a Democrat running for a second term, got elected four years ago as a reformer promising to clean up state government, but his administration has been mired in controversy for doling out jobs and contracts to the politically connected.

Polls have shown Blagojevich with a double-digit lead over GOP opponent Judy Baar Topinka.