A former state senator who used $63,000 in campaign funds to gamble at a Kansas casino has been sentenced to three years probation and fined $500 in federal court.
Former Sen. Brenda Council of Omaha earlier pleaded guilty to one count of federal wire fraud.
Council had previously been convicted of two state misdemeanor counts for filing false campaign finance reports.
Federal prosecutors had agreed to seek only probation for Council after she entered her guilty plea.
Council spoke to reporters after appearing in federal court, stating she will successfully complete her probation. Council stated she never intended to violate public trust and those who know her know what she has done throughout her career and that is what she will continue to do. Council added she is ready to move on.
Council last year pleaded guilty in Lancaster County District Court in Lincoln to the state charges. She was ordered to pay a $250 fine on each of two counts, plus ordered to pay court costs.
Campaign bank accounts and casino records subpoenaed by the Nebraska Attorney General’s office indicate Council withdrew $63,052.56 in campaign funds to gamble at a casino in Kansas City, Kansas. The Attorney General said the investigation uncovered $36,166.32 in unreported/prohibited deposits were made between January of 2010 and July of 2012 as well.
Council was officially charged with two state misdemeanor counts of abuse of public records for failing to report expenditures from her campaign account. State law requires that expenditures of campaign funds be disclosed on campaign finance reports.
Council stated her gambling problem compromised her judgment.
Council lost her re-election bid in the fall to former state Sen. Ernie Chambers, who held the seat until term limits forced him out for a term.
It was Chambers who filed the complaint that prompted the investigation by the United States Attorney’s office.
Karla James contributed to this story.