Federal fraud charges filed against Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O'Donnell

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) - Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell is charged with wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.

A federal indictment unsealed today alleges O’Donnell took money from his campaign accounts to put into his personal account and to give to his friends and covered it up by making false reports electronically to the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission.

Michael B. O’Donnell, II, 33, Wichita, is charged with five counts of wire fraud, five counts of bank fraud and two counts of money laundering.

The indictment alleges O’Donnell provided false information in five reports he emailed to the state ethics commission in 2016 and 2017. At issue are a series of transactions that the indictment alleges O’Donnell falsely represented as payments made for campaign-related expenses. They include:

  • A $1,000 check O’Donnell wrote from his “Michael for Kansas” campaign account to a person identified as C.R. The indictment alleges that after C.R. cashed the check, O’Donnell deposited the $1,000 into his personal checking account.
  • A $1,000 check O’Donnell wrote from his “Michael for Kansas” campaign account to a person identified as J.D. After receiving the check, J.D. allegedly wrote a $1,000 personal check to O’Donnell and O’Donnell deposited the $1,000 check into his personal account.
  • A total of 12 checks from the “Michael for Kansas” campaign account O’Donnell wrote to a friend identified as D.J., totaling $5,650.
  • Three checks O’Donnell wrote from his “Michael for Sedgwick County” account to D.J. totaling $750.
  • Six checks O’Donnell wrote from his “Michael for Kansas” account to a friend identified as J.M. totaling $2,100.

Special Agent Chuck Pritchett of the FBI and Detective Jon Gill of the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Smith and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mona Furst are prosecuting.

In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.

Upon conviction, the crimes carry the following penalties:

  • Wire fraud: Up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.
  • Bank fraud: Up to 30 years and a fine up to $1 million.
  • Money laundering: Up to 20 years and a fine up to $500,000.

O'Donnell is scheduled to appear in court May 9 at 1:30 p.m.   

O'Donnell was elected to the Kansas State Senate in 2012 for a term that ended in January 2017. He did not run for re-election and instead was elected to the Sedgwick County Commission for a term set to expire in 2020.

RELATED LINK | Commissioners react after charges filed against O'Donnell

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