HOUSTON (CN) – Former Texas Congressman Stephen Stockman was charged Tuesday in a 28-count federal indictment with fraudulently soliciting $1.2 million in charitable donations and diverting more than $500,000 to himself and his campaign.
FBI agents arrested Stephen Stockman, 60, of Clear Lake, on March 15 in Houston as he boarded a plane bound for the United Arab Emirates.
He posted a $25,000 the next day and on March 17 prosecutors unsealed a charge of conspiracy to violate federal election laws.
Prosecutors strengthened their case against Stockman on March 20 when his former staffer Thomas Dodd pleaded guilty to mail and wire fraud and lying to the Federal Election Commission. Dodd agreed to testify against Stockman, leading a grand jury to level additional charges against Stockman in a superseding indictment.
Dodd faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each charge.
The indictment also charges former Stockman aide Jason Posey, 46, with using a nonprofit to get a $450,571 donation for a mailer campaign targeting Stockman’s Republican primary opponent, incumbent Sen. John Cornyn, in 2014.
Posey served as special projects director in Stockman’s congressional office.
“Only approximately half of the donation was spent on the mail campaign, and Posey used a portion of the unspent balance to pay for expenses associated with Stockman’s Senate campaign and to fund personal expenses, according to the charges,” Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez’s office said in a statement Tuesday.
Stockman represented Texas’s 9th Congressional District from 1995 to 1997 and its 36th Congressional District from 2013 to 2015. Both districts are part of Greater Houston.
“From May 2010 to October 2014, Stockman solicited approximately $1,250,000 in donations based on false pretenses,” prosecutors said in the statement.
Stockman is charged with diverting a large chunk of a $285,000 charitable donation in 2010 to pay his and Dodd’s personal expenses, and $165,000 in charity donations in 2011 and 2012 to finance his 2012 congressional campaign.
“Shortly after Stockman took office in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013, he and Dodd allegedly used the name of a nonprofit entity to solicit and receive a $350,000 charitable donation. Stockman allegedly used this donation for a variety of personal and campaign expenses,” prosecutors said.
The 28-count indictment accuses Stockman of money laundering, mail and wire fraud, lying to the Federal Election Commission, excessive campaign contributions and filing a fraudulent tax return. Posey faces charges of falsifying an affidavit to obstruct an FEC investigation.
If convicted, Stockman faces decades in federal prison.
Stockman, a born-again Christian and former computer salesman, wrote an article for Guns & Ammo magazine in 1995 in which he claimed President Bill Clinton’s administration staged a February 1993 raid on a the Branch Davidian Christian fundamentalist compound in Waco, to justify banning assault weapons.
For 51 days, federal agents laid siege to the compound, which burned down April 19, 1993, killing 76 sect members and sect leader David Koresh. Four federal agents were killed in the raid.