The brother, sister and niece of indicted Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) were indicted themselves today for allegedly skimming hundreds of thousands of dollars from non-profit groups they controlled, according to the Associated Press.
"U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said the family members used several non-profit and for-profit companies to obtain grants designed to help pregnant teens, at-risk youths and others in need of assistance. They allegedly deposited some of the grant money into personal checking accounts and used it for personal expenses." the AP reported.
"A federal grand jury indicted New Orleans tax assessor Betty Jefferson, her brother, Mose Jefferson, and her daughter, Angela Coleman, on charges that include federal program fraud, identity theft and conspiracy to commit money laundering." Betty and Mose Jefferson potentially face hundreds of years of prison under the 30-count indictment.
Update - The New Orleans Times Picayune broke the story of the new Jefferson family indictments earlier today. The paper had originally reported on the activities at the Jefferson-family controlled non-profits back in 2006.
Mose Jefferson was also indicted in April for allegedly bribing a former New Orleans school official, who in turn steered more than $7 million in contracts to a firm he owned. He has has denied the charges in that case. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.
Rep. Jefferson has been indicted on a host of federal corruption charges, including bribery and violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Jefferson is waging a multi-front legal battle with the Justice Dept. and the case has yet to come to trial.
Documents released by DOJ in Rep. Jefferson's case claim that the veteran Democratic lawmaker involved multiple family members in his alleged criminal scheme, which involved proposed bribes to a Nigerian official in return for a potentially lucrative telecom contract for a firm secretly controlled by the congressman. Despite video of Jefferson reportedly accepting $100,000 in payments from an FBI informant, and an FBI raid on his house which yielded $90,000 hidden in the freezer, Jefferson has insisted he is innocent.