U.S. rep’s husband sentenced for fraud

The husband of U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Evanston, was sentenced to five months in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to bank fraud and not paying taxes.

Robert Creamer, a prominent political consultant, will have to report to federal prison by June 6, said Linda Garth, courtroom deputy for U.S. District Judge James B. Moran. After leaving prison, Creamer will spend 11 months in home confinement and have three years of supervised release, Garth said.

The prison where he will serve his sentence will be determined by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

“I am obviously disappointed that Bob’s sentence included incarceration, but we accept the judge’s decision and look forward to the day that we can finally put this nearly decade-long chapter behind us,” Schakowsky said after the sentencing, according to a statement released by her office.

Creamer pled guilty in August to using check kiting to help a Chicago-based public advocacy group he formerly headed stay afloat amid financial strains. Check kiting, or shifting funds and writing checks from bank to bank, allows organizations to make bank accounts reflect artificially high balances. Despite debts of more than $1 million, the Illinois Public Action Fund’s bank records showed positive balances between $11 and $24 million.

The debts were paid eventually, but the temporary illusion qualified the group for interest-free loans worth about $2.5 million from banks.

Creamer left the organization in 1997 and started a political consulting group, Issue Dynamics Inc.

He also pleaded guilty to not paying taxes on his salary for Issue Dynamics in order to help pay off company debts, Ted Poulos, Creamer’s attorney, told The Daily in September.

The prosecutor wanted a 30- to 37-month prison term and plans to review the sentence but has not made any decisions regarding an appeal, said Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“But we are pleased that the court recognized that a serious series of crimes was committed and that the defendant is going to jail for those crimes,” Samborn said.

Poulos, who did not respond to messages left at his office Wednesday afternoon, had said Creamer acted for public good rather than personal interest and thus deserved leniency.

“He should serve prison time for those crimes as any other defendant would, despite whatever good works he tried to accomplish,” Samborn said. “His motivation for these crimes is not a factor.”

Reach Greg Hafkin at [email protected] and Elizabeth Gibson at [email protected]