The son of Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) was indicted on charges of financial fraud and filing false tax returns, making false bank statements to get loans and pocketing federal funds intended for Philadelphia school programs.
Chaka Fatah Jr., 31, turned himself in to authorities Aug. 5, and has since been released on $50,000 bail.
Fattah is charged with nearly two dozen crimes relating to bank, tax, and wire fraud, theft, and making false statements to obtain and settle loans of more than $200,000.
A 32-page indictment document alleges in detail how Fattah used the loans he obtained to pay off gambling debts, make car payments, purchase clothing, and cover other lavish expenses.
The indictment also alleges that Fattah portrayed himself as the owner and founder of numerous entrepreneurial business enterprises, including one called 259 Strategies which provides educational consulting, diversity consulting and audit services to a select group of clients. Fattah allegedly obtained a $50,000 line of credit originally intended “for working capital to support business operations.”
In order to maintain his substantial earnings, Fattah submitted false, inflated, and fictitious budget information on behalf of his consulting company.
Fattah failed to file income tax returns between 2005 and 2008, according to court documents. He didn’t file those returns until late 2010, and failed to report all of his earned income on the returns. Fattah also inflated expenses related to at least $930,000 in federal funds which he received for a charter school program for at-risk middle school students.
According to the Associated Press, Fattah described the entire ordeal as politically motivated.
“If my dad wasn’t the congressman, nobody would be going after me,” he said.
Fattah has been under investigation by the FBI for approximately two years. In 2012, his Ritz-Carlton apartment and office was raided by the FBI.
Fattah Sr., a 10-term Democrat representing Philadelphia, has also been a subject of federal investigation. He said in a statement that he was confident that his son would be cleared of the criminal allegations.
If convicted, Fattah faces imprisonment and fines of up to $13 million.