Former State Senator William “Sam” McCann plead not guilty today to federal charges that allege he illegally spent more than $200,000 in campaign funds on cars, debts, other personal expenses and pay for himself.
According to the State Journal Register, McCann was appointed a public defender during a hearing after he told U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Eric Long that he was unemployed, being supported by his wife, a traveling nurse, and had credit card debt and loans totaling more than $30,000.
McCann also received a public defender when he was first investigated in 2018 as part of a federal grand jury investigation into using campaign funds to purchase a personal vehicle.
McCann was indicted by federal authorities on February 3rd but was not sought for arrest. The latest federal indictment accuses McCann of engaging in an elaborate scheme to illegally use campaign funds for expenses that include mortgage payments, paying himself a personal salary, make miscellaneous personal purchases, and concealed the fraud from the public, election authorities, donors, and law enforcement. The money allegedly came from McCann’s Illinois Senate campaign funds and from money donated to his unsuccessful bid as a third-party Conservative Party candidate for governor in 2018.
According to the SJ-R report, McCann must meet several conditions to remain free during his case, including the sale of 75 personal firearms from his residence. An April 6 trial date was set, but both attorneys have indicated that may be delayed.
McCann faces felony charges of wire fraud and money laundering which carry maximum 20-year prison terms. McCann also faces a charge of tax evasion, which can result in a maximum 5-year prison term.