Karen Carter Peterson
FPI / July 27, 2022
Former Louisiana Democrat state senator Karen Carter Peterson has been charged with wire fraud after allegedly using campaign contributions to feed her gambling addiction.
Peterson had received more than $100,000 in campaign contributions from the Black Lives Matter PAC in her 2021 campaign for the congressional seat for Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District, which she lost in the primary runoff to Democrat Troy Carter.
According to a Department of Justice statement, Peterson diverted, and caused her friends and associates to divert, campaign funds from her campaign fund for personal use. The feds say the activities continued for about 7 years.
Investigators also said Peterson wrote checks from her campaign account to her friends and associates, then directed them to cash the checks and give her most or all of the proceeds. Peterson is accused of using the funds to pay for personal expenses unrelated to her campaign or the holding of public office, including paying gambling-related expenses.
She is also accused of filing false or misleading campaign finance reports that mischaracterized expenses as legitimate campaign purchases.
Investigators say Peterson also allegedly used her position as Chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party to choose companies operated by her associates who were hired to do work for the party. Instead, investigators say those companies did no or minimal work and gave a portion of the funds paid to them back to Peterson.
If convicted, Peterson faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to 3 years of supervised release after imprisonment. Peterson is scheduled to be arraigned in court on Aug. 1. She is expected to plead guilty.
Peterson, who represented the 5th Congressional District for more than a decade, resigned her Senate seat in April, citing mental health her addiction to gambling.
She served as the chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party from 2012 to 2020.
Free Press International