Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, a Democrat, has been hit with federal fraud charges which outline allegations of serious financial impropriety.
Gillum, who Democrats used to celebrate as a rising star in Florida politics, lost to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial election.
The Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that Gillum — the former mayor of Tallahassee, which former President Donald Trump called the “most corrupt city” in Florida — had been indicted following a lengthy federal investigation.
Federal prosecutors have accused the former Democrat mayor and one of his associates, Sharon Janet Lettman-Hicks, of “to commit wire fraud, by unlawfully soliciting and obtaining funds from various entities and individuals through false and fraudulent promises and representations that the funds would be used for a legitimate purpose,” according to the press release.
Lettman-Hicks then allegedly disguised the funds as payroll payments for Gillum to use.
Gillum and Lettman-Hicks are both facing 19 counts of wire fraud, along with one charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The former Democrat mayor has also been charged with making false statements to FBI agents.
Wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud are both punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison.
This is not the first time that Gillum made the news for alleged illegal activity. In 2020, the former gubernatorial candidate was found intoxicated in a Miami Beach hotel with two men, including a male escort. Police were initially called to the scene after receiving a report of a drug overdose, and bags of suspected methamphetamine were discovered at the scene. Photos of the scene from Miami Police showed a hotel room filled with pills.
Soon after that incident, Gillum announced that he was checking himself into a rehab facility, revealing that he had fallen into depression and alcohol abuse after losing his campaign for governor.
Gillum has professed his innocence in response to the federal indictment.
Since his 2018 loss, Florida has moved from being a swing state to a more reliably Republican state. Some have cited DeSantis’ 2018 victory over Gillum — with the Republican candidate receiving just 32,463 more votes than his Democrat opposition — as fundamental to the political transformation of the state. That narrow victory was all that stood between Florida and an allegedly corrupt Democrat ruling over its citizens as governor.