Former state lawmaker pleads guilty to mail fraud

Jul 25, 2013

Connie Howard leaves federal court house in Springfield
Credit Amanda Vinicky / WUIS/Illinois Public Radio
Prosecutors will recommend six months of prison time for a former state legislator who Wednesday pleaded guilty to mail fraud.  IPR'S Amanda Vinicky reports.
From 1995 through last summer, Connie Howard traveled from Chicago to Springfield to serve as a member of the Illinois House. This time, she returned to make an appearance in federal court. 

Howard, a Democrat, admitted to raising nearly $77,000  that was ostensibly to be used for scholarships.But she only gave out a handful of scholarships, totaling $12,500. She kept $28,000 for her personal use and for her campaign.

Under the terms of the deal, prosecutors have agreed to recommend Howard serve up a maximum of six months in prison, and six months of home confinement. Howard's attorney, Michael Metnick, says he'll argue she serve no time behind bars.

"We'll just bring to the court's attention all of the good that Constance Howard did as a state representative and as a citizen during her lifetime."

Howard's out on $10,000 bond, leading up to her November sentencing hearing. She resigned as a Representative last July, amid reports of a federal probe into an unrelated matter involving state grants.