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Orleans official pleads guilty in Katrina fraud

By Michael Kunzelman

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, July 18 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans city councilman has pleaded guilty to plotting to misuse thousands of dollars in federal money intended to help a nonprofit organization after 2005's Hurricane Katrina and divert some of it to one of his political campaigns.

Sixty-three-year-old Jon Johnson faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He said Wednesday he would resign from his council seat.

In a statement, Johnson says he agreed to plead guilty that he illegally used federal money for his 2007 Senate campaign and filed a false statement on a small business loan.

Johnson was involved in city and state politics for three decades. He was not a councilman when the funds were misused.

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit theft of government funds and to submit false documents.

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