Former state senator Karen Carter Peterson pleads guilty to federal wire fraud

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 7:39 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Former Louisiana state senator Karen Carter Peterson pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud on Monday (Aug. 1).

Peterson admitted to funneling more than $147,000 in campaign funds into cash that funded a gambling habit, with the help of four friends who cashed checks written by her on campaign accounts for a fee.

Peterson did not stop to speak with reporters after entering her plea in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance. Her defense attorney, Brian Capitelli, said he remained hopeful that Peterson could get less than the possible 20-year prison term she faces when sentenced by Vance on Dec. 7.

“She’s already paid (back) all the money,” Capitelli said. “It’s a matter of where it goes. Money has been paid back to the party and the campaign and she’ll move on.”

Carter admitted to a scheme in which she wrote campaign checks to individuals who cashed them for a fee and turned the cash over to her. She faces the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $250,000. The felony conviction will also prevent her from practicing law in Louisiana.

“This will be deemed a crime of moral turpitude,” Fox 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti said. “She could lose her license permanently, or for a period of time.”

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