Illinois Dem Indicted on 40 Embezzlement Charges

Accused of embezzling almost $275,000

Illinois State Capitol (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
August 2, 2019

Illinois state Senator Tom Cullerton (D.) has been indicted for fraudulently accepting benefits from a labor union, prosecutors said Friday morning. Cullerton is facing one charge of "conspiracy to embezzle from a labor union and employee benefit plans," one count of "making false statements in a health care matter," and 39 counts of "embezzlement from a labor union," according to an NBC Chicago affiliate.

Cullerton, an Army veteran, took office after winning a senate seat in 2012. Prior to his election, he was a member of the local chapter of the Teamsters Union. Once he won, his employment was terminated and he was no longer eligible for the union's pension or benefit funds.

However, in March of 2013, Cullerton was hired by the Teamsters Joint Council to serve as a "union organizer," which entailed receiving a full-time salary along with benefits, according to an ABC Chicago affiliate.

The indictment accuses Cullerton of not performing the duties of the union organizer position while receiving a salary and pension benefits. It also accuses him of conspiring with individuals inside the union to misrepresent himself as an employee to claim medical benefits.

Up until April of 2016, he received $188,320 in salary and other perks, and $64,068 in the form of benefits and pension contributions despite not performing the functions of his job. He also claimed medical reimbursements worth more than $20,000 by misrepresenting his actual position in the union, the indictment reads.

A statement from Cullerton's attorney denied wrongdoing. An arraignment date has not yet been set.