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July 24, 2013

Ex-Ill. lawmaker pleads guilty in charity case

(Continued)

SPRINGFIELD — —

Prosecutors allege that from 2003 to 2007 Howard raised $76,700 by telling donors the money would pay for scholarships. But government attorneys say only five scholarships worth a total of $12,500 were dispersed. Howard ended up using around $28,000 for personal and political use, according to a court document filed by prosecutors on July 17.

Howard represented the Chicago-area's 34th district on the city's southwest side.

She stepped down from her $78,000-a-year post on July 6, 2012, for "personal reasons." Less than two weeks later, she received a federal subpoena seeking records about the scholarship fund. She had served as chair of the House computer technology committee.

Bass said Wednesday that Howard began talking to the federal government in 2012 before her resignation.

The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Department of Economic Opportunity were subpoenaed in 2009 about an AIDS awareness group Howard Helped found. The House clerk had been subpoenaed for financial records from Howard's office in 2010.

Former Howard staffer Lloyd Kelly pleaded not guilty last month on charges that he used state money intended for the "Let's talk, Let's Test" AIDS foundation he founded with Howard to cover personal expenses.

Bass would not comment on whether the federal investigation was over.

Howard is free on a $10,000 bond.

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