Former Republican Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois was indicted by a federal grand jury on 24 criminal counts including theft of government funds and fraud, reported the Chicago Tribune.
Schock was elected to Congress in 2008 at the age of 27 and resigned on March 31, 2015 amid suspicion that he misused campaign funds, including re-decorating his office to look like a set from the television show “Downton Abbey.”
In addition to theft and fraud, Schock was charged with making false statements and filing false tax returns. He faces up to 20 years in prison.
"This indictment will look bad, but underneath it is just made-up allegations of criminal activity arising from unintentional administrative errors," Schock's attorney, George Terwilliger, said in a statement, according to The Associated Press. "These charges are the culmination of an effort to find something, anything, to take down Aaron Schock.”
Schock maintains his innocence and vowed to fight the charges.
“I intend to not only prove these allegations false, but in the process, expose this investigation for what it was,” Schock said, according to The New York Times.
He added: “Neither I nor anyone else intentionally did anything wrong. As I have said before, we might have made errors among a few of the thousands and thousands of financial transactions we conducted, but they were honest mistakes — no one intended to break any law.”
Schock also criticized the Justice Department, which he claims "poked, prodded, and probed every aspect of my professional, political, and personal life."
"Like many Americans, I wanted to have faith in the integrity of our Justice Department," he said. "But after this experience, I am forced to join millions of other Americans who have sadly concluded that our federal justice system is broken, corrupt, and too often driven by politics instead of facts."