Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick illegally used the nonprofit Kilpatrick Civic Fund like a piggy bank to pay for crisis consultants, a Cadillac, trips — even summer camp for his kids — a federal grand jury said yesterday, charging him with 19 counts of fraud and tax evasion, the Detroit Free Press reports.
The charges came seven years after Internal Revenue Service and FBI agents began looking into the fund after a Free Press report that a homeless shelter operator gave the fund $50,000 during Kilpatrick’s first run for mayor in 2001. The newspaper said Kilpatrick then wrote a letter recommending the shelter get a multimillion-dollar public contract. Prosecutors contend he failed to report more than $640,000 in taxable income while mayor that he received in cash, flights on private jets, and perks paid for out of the civic fund. “This indictment sends a clear message that those who make up their own rules based on fraud and deceit will be prosecuted,” said Maurice Aouate, head of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Detroit.