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The only federal Democratic candidate backed by the Black Lives Matter PAC this election cycle is now facing a wire fraud charge for routing campaign and party funds to outside individuals and companies, and using the money on personal expenses, including gambling.
The Black Lives Matter PAC, a BLM Global Network Foundation-affiliated committee, in July 2021 pushed more than $100,000 into independent expenditures backing Karen Carter Peterson’s failed attempt at entering Congress in Louisiana’s 2nd district, federal records reviewed by Fox News Digital show.
Peterson, a former Louisiana Democratic Party chair and state senator, resigned from the state senate in April, citing her mental health and gambling addiction.
However, Peterson was charged this month in federal court with one count of wire fraud for using campaign and party monies on personal expenses.
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Peterson’s seven-year scheme involved diverting state campaign and party cash to four individuals and four companies, which reportedly cashed the checks and provided Peterson with most or all of the funds, according to the Louisiana Illuminator.
Peterson then used the money on personal expenses, including gambling-related costs. She also filed “false and misleading” campaign finance reports that “mischaracterized expenditures as being for legitimate purposes related to her campaign or the holding of public office,” the Justice Department wrote in a July 14 press release.
Peterson publicly addressed the charges that same day and apologized for her actions.
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“Today marks an important step in my life-long recovery as I continue to address my gambling addiction,” Peterson wrote on Twitter. “I sincerely apologize for the impact from my compulsive behavior resulting from this addiction.”
“I have made full repayment of funds used as a result of my addiction and I will continue to make amends,” she added. “Staying true to the steps of my ongoing recovery, I have been forthright, honest, and fully cooperative with the US Attorneys’ Office in their investigation.”
Peterson, who is scheduled to appear in federal court on August 1, faces up to 20 years in prison, up to $250,000 in fines and up to three years of supervised release after imprisonment, the Justice Department said in the press release.
Brian Capitelli, Peterson’s attorney, told reporters last week that she has entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors, KPLC News reported.
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Capitelli did not respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment by press time.
Peterson, meanwhile, is the only federal candidate the Black Lives Matter PAC has supported this cycle through June, according to their records. The committee spent $35,000 last year on nonfederal independent expenditures supporting Chi Ossé, a New York City council member.
So far this year, the PAC has disbursed roughly $168,000. Of that amount, $60,600 – or more than a third – has gone to Bowers Consulting, a firm run by Shalomyah Bowers, the PAC’s treasurer and the BLM Global Network Foundation’s board secretary.
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Bowers’ consulting firm also received $2.1 million from the BLM Global Network Foundation between July 2020 and June 2021, their tax forms revealed.
Black Lives Matter did not respond to a Fox News Digital inquiry on their support of Peterson.