Milwaukee alderwoman and U.S. Senate candidate Chantia Lewis has been charged with defrauding the city and campaign donors of more than $21,000. The charges come from the office of Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm.
Lewis is charged with five felony offenses, including misconduct in office, theft by fraud, embezzlement and falsifying campaign finance reports. The embezzlement charge alone, Urban Milwaukee reported, carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Lewis says she is innocent, and calls the issues triggering the charges “accounting errors."
The criminal complaint states that she “misappropriated funds belonging to her campaign by depositing campaign contributions into her personal bank accounts, as well as using campaign funds to pay for personal expenses." It further reads that, “Lewis further falsely represented to the City of Milwaukee that she was owed reimbursement for expenses incurred on City-travel, when in fact she paid for those expenses out of her campaign account."
The investigation started in May 2020 as a review of travel expenses and campaign finance disclosures from multiple council members. Lewis is accused of misusing funds for numerous things including trips to Las Vegas, Pittsburg, Houston, Washington D.C., Little Rock, Minneapolis, and Florida. She's also accused of falsely reporting a donation more than twice the legal limit by developer Kalan Haywood, which was reported as being from three different people.
Lewis denounced the charges in a statement. “After four years as an elected official, we were recently advised, for the first time, by the DA's office about some potential campaign reporting error," she said. “Upon notification of these accounting errors, we have worked with and cooperated fully with the DA's investigation. We will make the necessary corrections. But make no mistake, I am innocent of any criminal wrongdoing."
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