CHICAGO (Bloomberg) — Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Dennis Hastert was indicted on charges of evading currency-reporting requirements and lying to the FBI as part of a hush-money scheme.
Hastert, 73, withdrew $952,000 in small increments to avoid a requirement that banks report cash transactions exceeding $10,000, the U.S. Justice Department said Thursday. The withdrawals were part of a plan to give an individual who wasn’t named $3.5 million as a payoff to conceal “prior misconduct,” Chicago U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon said in a statement.
Hastert, a Republican from Plano, served in the House from 1987 to 2007. He became the chamber’s speaker — second in line of succession to the president — in 1999.
Starting in July 2012, Hastert began structuring withdrawals in increments of less than $10,000 to evade currency transaction reports, prosecutors said. Later, when questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he told agents he was keeping the cash, they said.
Since 2008, Hastert has been a senior adviser at Dickstein Shapiro LLP in Washington, where he’s a registered lobbyist. (The firm is hired by the government of Turkey in its efforts against the recognition the Armenian Genocide.) He has resigned, said a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified. Hastert didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment. Kimberly Nerheim, a spokeswoman for Fardon, said information on the ex-speaker’s lawyer wasn’t immediately available.
Each of the charges against Hastert carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.