Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was indicted by a federal grand jury in Chicago for allegedly structuring cash bank withdrawals of funds he used to “conceal his prior misconduct” against an unnamed individual and for lying to the FBI about the arrangement, Politico reports. Hastert, 73, was accused in connection with withdrawing $1.7 million in cash from several banks over four years, with many of those withdrawals in amounts designed to avoid triggering federal reporting rules. The indictment does not specify the nature of the prior misconduct but alleged it involved activities from “years earlier.” The person who received the payments has been a resident of Yorkville, Il., and has known Hastert for most of that person's life, the indictment says.
“He had been withdrawing cash in increments of less than $10,000 to evade currency transaction reporting requirements because he wanted his agreement to compensate Individual A to remain secret so as to cover up his past misconduct,” the indictment says. Last December, the indictment says, Hastert lied about the payments to the FBI. Hastert was elected to the House in 1986 and served as speaker from 1999 to 2007. His alleged crime, called structuring, involves efforts to avoid the Bank Secrecy Act's reporting requirements. The law says that when taxpayers withdraw or deposit cash in amounts of $10,000 or more, they must file a Currency Transaction Report with the IRS. Deliberately evading reporting on cash transactions can trigger probes by the Department of Justice, which can freeze and seize the taxpayer's assets.