WASHINGTON – The former treasurer for the National Republican Congressional Committee diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars – and possibly as much as $1 million – of the organization’s funds into his personal accounts, GOP officials said Thursday, describing an alleged scheme that could become one of the largest political frauds in recent history.
For at least four years, Christopher J. Ward, who is now under investigation by the FBI, allegedly used wire transfers to funnel money out of NRCC coffers and into other political committee accounts he controlled as treasurer, NRCC leaders and lawyers said in their first public statement since they turned the matter over to the FBI six weeks ago.
“The evidence we have today indicated we have been deceived and betrayed for a number of years by a highly respected and trusted individual,” said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., NRCC chairman.
The committee also announced that it had submitted to banks five years of audits and financial documents allegedly faked by Ward, some of which were used to secure multimillion-dollar loans. It is a violation of federal bank fraud laws to obtain loans through false statements; the crime is punishable by up to $1 million in fines and 30 years in prison.