Former Louisiana state senator Karen Carter Peterson was charged with wire fraud in a scheme that spanned seven years, according to the U.S. Attorney General’s Office.
Peterson served as the state senator in the 5th district from 2010 to April 8, 2022 and as the chair of Political Party A from 2010 to 2020.
As senator, Peterson created the Karen Carter Peterson campaign fund to raise money to help facilitate her reeelction.
Officials say Peterson diverted money from the campaign fund to her personal use. She also caused her friends and associates to divert money to her personal use, according to the news release.
Peterson allegedly used money and property from contributors to the KCPCF by false representations and promises for seven years. She allegedly wrote checks drawn on the campaign fund account to her friends and associates and directed them to cash the checks and give the money to her.
Officials say Peterson used the money for expenses unrelated to the campaign or her holding office. One of the expenses included paying off a gambling-related debt.
In her role as political party chair, Peterson allegedly abused her power by choosing companies operated by her associates to provide campaign-related services to the party.
It was determined that the companies provided minimal services for State Political Party A. Peterson directed the companies to remit a portion of the money paid to them by political party A to her either through checks or cash.
If convicted, Peterson faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000.00, up to three years of supervised release after imprisonment, and a mandatory $100 special assessment fee.