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Chicago Ald. Willie Cochran accused of misusing $30K

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CHICAGO -- A newly unveiled indictment accuses a well-known Chicago alderman of withdrawing at least $30,000 from a charitable fund he oversaw to pay his daughter's college tuition and to spend on gambling.

The grand jury indictment of Willie Cochran was filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. It includes 11 counts of wire fraud, two of federal program bribery and two counts of extortion.

The 22-page filing says the charity, called the 20th Ward Activities Fund, was ostensibly used to help feed poor families, buy winter coats for children and, among other things, to cover the cost of a Valentine's Day party for senior citizens.

The indictment also says the Chicago Democrat demanded money from a liquor store owner and from a lawyer in exchange for official action.

When news of the indictment broke, Cochran abruptly left Wednesday's City Council meeting. He declined comment to reporters following him on Wednesday, saying he needed to see the details.

If found guilty, Cochran could technically face a maximum 280 years in prison.


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