Congressman's son, Fattah Jr., charged with fraud

Congressmans Son Fraud Charges
This March 20, 2014 photo shows Chaka Fattah Jr in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/The Philadelphia Inquirer, David Swanson)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The son of a Philadelphia congressman has been indicted on bank fraud, tax and theft charges, accused of stealing federal funds for city schools and using business loans to pay off mostly personal expenses, including more than $30,000 in gambling debts, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.
Chaka Fattah Jr., 31, surrendered at the federal courthouse and vowed to clear his name. He was scheduled for a court appearance later Tuesday.
“I just think that this entire investigation has been politically motivated and I’m looking forward to my day in court,” he told WPVI-TV at the courthouse.
A federal indictment accuses Fattah, son of Democratic U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, of lying about his income to obtain more than $200,000 in business loans.
He used one $50,000 loan, intended “for working capital to support business operations,” to pay down more than $15,000 in credit card debt and pay off more than $33,000 in casino gambling debt, prosecutors said.
He is also charged with theft of federal funds from the city school district, filing false income tax returns in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009, and failing to pay $51,000 in taxes on time in 2010.
His consulting companies — 259 Strategies and Chaka Fattah Jr. & Associates — billed themselves as providing educational consulting, diversity consulting, audit services, technical assistance and community relations, along with research and computer consulting, the indictment said.
The government said he inflated expenses related to at least $930,000 in federal funds he received for a charter school program for at-risk middle school students.
Fattah has a lawsuit pending against the IRS over a 2012 search of his Philadelphia home that he says damaged his reputation.
“I have been successful in my business,” Fattah told WPVI. “I earned every dollar legitimately, and I don’t think that this is the way an investigation is typically handled. I mean, they’ve spent millions of dollars working on this for 2½ years.”
Messages left with two Washington lawyers named in the suit as representing him were not immediately returned.
The congressman’s office said it had no immediate comment.

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