A former Black Lives Matter-backed Democratic candidate has been sentenced to 22 months in prison.
Karen Carter Peterson, a former Louisiana Democratic Party chair and state senator, received the sentence on Wednesday after pleading guilty to a wire fraud charge that included routing more than $140,000 in campaign and party funds to outside individuals and companies and using the money on personal expenses, including gambling.
Peterson abruptly resigned from the state senate last April, citing her mental health and gambling addiction. She was charged a month later in federal court with one count of wire fraud.
Peterson’s scheme ran for seven years and involved diverting state campaign and party cash to several individuals and companies, which reportedly cashed the checks and provided Peterson with most or all of the funds, according to the Louisiana Illuminator.
Peterson then used the money on personal expenses, including gambling-related costs. She also filed “false and misleading” campaign finance reports that “mischaracterized expenditures as being for legitimate purposes related to her campaign or the holding of public office,” the Justice Department wrote in a July press release last year.
“Today marks an important step in my life-long recovery as I continue to address my gambling addiction,” Peterson wrote on Twitter at the time. “I sincerely apologize for the impact from my compulsive behavior resulting from this addiction.”
“I have made full repayment of funds used as a result of my addiction and I will continue to make amends,” she added. “Staying true to the steps of my ongoing recovery, I have been forthright, honest, and fully cooperative with the US Attorneys’ Office in their investigation.”
Peterson, meanwhile, is the only federal candidate supported by Black Lives Matter since January 2021.
The Black Lives Matter PAC, a BLM Global Network Foundation-affiliated committee, in July 2021 pushed more than $100,000 into independent expenditures backing her failed attempt at entering Congress in Louisiana’s 2nd district, federal records reviewed by Fox News Digital show.
Peterson must report to federal prison on March 6, according to Nola.com.