CHICAGO – The husband of an Illinois congresswoman pleaded guilty Wednesday to tax violations and bank fraud for writing rubber checks and failing to collect withholding tax from an employee so he could use the money to pay a bill.
Robert Creamer (search), a political consultant married to four-term U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (search), could face four years in prison on the two felony counts when he is sentenced Dec. 21.
"I still stand by him," Schakowsky, D-Ill., said after the hearing. "He's a wonderful man, and this doesn't define what he is."
Schakowsky has not been accused of any wrongdoing
Creamer, 58, a prominent Chicago political consultant, was accused of swindling nine financial institutions of at least $2.3 million while he ran a public interest group in the 1990s.
The indictment alleged Creamer 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. According to the indictment, he allegedly then used the inflated balances to pay the group's expenses and own salary.
Creamer 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.
His lawyer, Theodore Poulos, said he hopes Creamer can avoid prison and serve whatever sentence he receives in a halfway house or under house arrest.
Schakowsky, who lives in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, said she doesn't think her husband's plea would prompt a primary challenge next year in the heavily Democratic district.