Details on the indictmentThe indictment alleges that from May 2015 to June 2020 McCann “engaged in a scheme to convert more than $200,000 in contributions and donations made to his campaign committees to pay himself and make personal purchases.” Further, McCann concealed his fraud from donors, the public, the Illinois State Board of Elections, and law enforcement authorities, according to the news release. McCann, of Plainview, was a state senator from 2011 until January 2019 following his unsuccessful third-party run for governor in which he received about 4.2 percent of the vote or 192,527 votes.
U.S. Attorney: McCann used campaign funds for vehicles, paying himself, paying billsAccording to the U.S. Attorney’s office, McCann organized several political committees that received over $5 million in donations. But in several instances, McCann used some of that money to purchase personal vehicles, pay personal debts, make mortgage payments and pay himself, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. That included $60,000 spent on a 2017 Ford Expedition and a 2018 Ford F-250 pickup truck, and he later used campaign funds to pay for fuel and insurance for the vehicles. The indictment also details an alleged scheme in which McCann purchased two recreational vehicles, later establishing an account with an RV rental business in Ohio through which McCann rented the vehicles to himself, paid for by campaign funds. That also led to a tax evasion charge. “McCann caused a total of approximately $62,666 in campaign funds to be used to pay the rental cost of the vehicles. The rental business retained approximately $9,838 for commission and paid McCann, as the owner, approximately $52,827 by direct deposit to McCann’s personal checking account. McCann reimbursed the campaign accounts $18,000, resulting in more than $77,000 in campaign funds used to buy and rent from himself,” according to the news release from the U.S. Attorney. McCann also allegedly cut himself a $20,000 cashier’s check from the campaign account in 2016 to pay off a 2011 loan. From May 2015 to August 2020, McCann allegedly spent approximately $64,750 in campaign funds on two separate personal mortgage loans.
2018 gubernatorial campaign was lucrativeHis failed campaign for governor was lucrative as well, according to the indictment. “McCann allegedly caused the Conservative Party of Illinois to issue approximately $187,000 in payments to himself personally and an additional $52,282 in payments for payroll taxes,” through June 2020, according to the news release. “Using a payroll service, McCann was allegedly able to conceal himself as the payee for the expenditures from the campaign account.” The indictment also alleges the Conservative Party standard-bearer spent $50,000 in campaign funds on credit card payments related to a family vacation in Colorado and charges from Apple iTunes, Amazon, a skeet and trap club, Cabela’s, Scheels, Best Buy, a gun store, and cash withdrawals.
McCann to appear in court for arraignment Feb. 16McCann is scheduled to appear via telephone conference at 2 p.m. Feb. 16 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tom Schanzle-Haskins for arraignment. If convicted, McCann could face penalties of up to 20 years in prison for each of the seven counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering he faces. For tax evasion, he could serve up to five years. Reporting by Jerry Nowicki
Jerry Nowicki is the bureau chief of Capitol News Illinois and has been with the organization since its inception in 2019. Prior to joining CNI, Nowicki spent two years as an Illinois Senate staffer, an aide to state Sen. Steve Landek. Previously, he was editor of the LeRoy-Farmer City Press, winner of the 2015 Kramer Memorial Trophy for Illinois' best small weekly newspaper. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Illinois State University and obtained his master’s degree in communication from Purdue University in May 2019.