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McCann Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges

During the third day of former Illinois State Senator William Samuel McCann Jr.’s bench trial before U.S. District Judge Colleen Lawless, McCann pleaded guilty to nine counts of the indictment which charged him with seven counts of wire fraud, one count of money laundering, and one count of tax evasion related to his alleged misuse of campaign funds for personal expenses.

Prior to the commencement of the trial, the Court revoked McCann’s pretrial release and ordered that he be detained. During the trial, the government’s evidence established, and McCann admitted during the plea hearing, that from about May 2015 to June 2020, McCann engaged in a scheme to convert more than $200,000 and potentially more than $500,000 in contributions and donations made to his campaign committees to pay himself and make personal purchases, and that he concealed his fraud from donors, the public, the Illinois State Board of Elections and law enforcement authorities.

Following the plea hearing, McCann requested that he be released to home confinement pending sentencing and the Court scheduled a detention hearing for today, February 16, 2024. During the detention hearing the government presented a video that McCann recorded just prior to his detainment on Friday, February 9, 2024, in which McCann referenced the government’s conspiracy against him, among other accusations. Judge Lawless noted that the video raised her concern regarding McCann’s harming himself and his truthfulness with the Court, and ordered McCann detained pending sentencing.  

Following the detention hearing, United States Attorney Gregory K. Harris stated, “We want to extend our sincere thanks to the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Internal Revenue Service for their tireless efforts in the thorough investigation and prosecution of this case.”

A sentencing hearing for McCann is scheduled for June 20, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. The statutory penalty for each count of wire fraud (seven counts) and one count of money laundering is up to 20 years in prison. For tax evasion, the statutory penalty is up to 5 years in prison.

William Samuel McCann, Jr., 54, of Plainview, Ill., served as a state senator for the 49th District of Illinois from 2011 to 2013, and for the redrawn 50th District from 2013 to January 2019. McCann formed the Conservative Party of Illinois and, in 2018, launched an unsuccessful bid for Illinois Governor. McCann previously lived in Carlinville, Ill., and owned and operated two construction related businesses.

McCann organized multiple political committees that were registered with the Illinois State Board of Elections: Sam McCann for Senate; Sam McCann for Senate Committee; McCann for Illinois; and Conservative Party of Illinois. According to the indictment, from April 2011 to November 2018, McCann and his political committees received more than $5 million in campaign donations.

During his plea hearing, McCann admitted that he used campaign funds to purchase personal vehicles, pay personal debts, make mortgage payments, and pay himself, including the following:

  • McCann used more than $60,000 in campaign funds to partially fund the purchases of a 2017 Ford Expedition in April 2017 and a 2018 Ford F-250 truck in July 2018, which he titled in his own name and used for his personal travel. McCann then used campaign funds for loan payments on the F-250 and for fuel and insurance expenses for both vehicles, while at the same time using campaign funds to reimburse mileage expense claims which he did not incur.

  • In April 2018, McCann used $18,000 in campaign funds to purchase a 2018 recreational travel trailer, and in May 2018, used $25,000 in campaign funds to buy a 2006 recreational motor home, both of which McCann titled in his personal name.

McCann established an online account with a recreational vehicle rental business in Ohio and listed the vehicles for rent identifying Sam McCann as the owner. McCann then established a second account with the same rental business and identified himself as William McCann, a potential renter, with a different residential address and email than those he listed as the owner. From approximately May 2018 to June 2018, McCann, while representing himself as the renter, William, rented both the travel trailer and motor home from Sam, the owner, through the RV rental business. McCann caused a total of approximately $62,666 in campaign funds be used to pay the rental cost of the vehicles. The rental business retained approximately $9,838 for commission and paid McCann, as the owner, approximately $52,827 by direct deposit to McCann’s personal checking account. McCann reimbursed the campaign accounts $18,000, resulting in more than $77,000 in campaign funds used to buy and rent from himself.

  • On or about Oct. 4, 2016, McCann used a $20,000 cashier’s check funded by a campaign account and issued to himself to pay off a personal loan, including legal fees, that had originally been issued to him as an equipment loan in 2011 and was in collection by the bank due to non-payment.

  • From May 2015 to August 2020, McCann used campaign funds to pay approximately $64,750 on two separate personal mortgage loans that were secured by his former residence in Carlinville and an adjoining property used as an office for his construction business.

  • In November 2018, after an unsuccessful campaign for Governor of Illinois, when he was no longer a candidate for office and did not financially support any other candidate, and continuing to June 2020, McCann caused the Conservative Party of Illinois to issue approximately $187,000 in payments to himself personally and an additional $52,282 in payments for payroll taxes. Using a payroll service, McCann was able to conceal himself as the payee for the expenditures from the campaign account.

  • McCann also admitted that approximately $50,000 in campaign funds were used for personal expenses including Green Dot credit card payments related to a family vacation in Colorado and other personal expenses, charges from Apple iTunes, Amazon, a skeet and trap club, Cabela’s, Scheels, Best Buy, a gun store, and cash withdrawals.

  • In relation to his joint return for calendar year 2018. McCann failed to report income from his 2018 rental payments to himself for the RV trailer and motor home. In addition, in March 2018, McCann used a $10,000 check issued by a campaign account to make a down payment to a Shipman, Ill., business for a motor home. When the purchase was not completed, the business issued a $10,000 refund check payable to William McCann, which he deposited to his personal checking account and failed to report as income received.

The charges are the result of investigation by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Bass is representing the government in the prosecution.


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