State

Illinois state senator pleads not guilty to embezzlement

Sen. Thomas Cullerton, D-Villa Park, speaks to lawmakers Dec. 7, 2015, while on the Senate floor during session at the state Capitol in Springfield.
Sen. Thomas Cullerton, D-Villa Park, speaks to lawmakers Dec. 7, 2015, while on the Senate floor during session at the state Capitol in Springfield.

CHICAGO – An Illinois state senator has pleaded not guilty to federal charges alleging he took more than $250,000 in salary and benefits over three years from the Teamsters while doing little or no work.

Democrat Thomas Cullerton of Villa Park was due to be released on his own recognizance following his arraignment Friday.

A federal grand jury indicted Cullerton on 39 counts of embezzlement from a labor union, one count of conspiracy to embezzle from a labor union and employee benefit plans and one count of making false statements in a health care matter.

Cullerton spokeswoman Lissa Druss issued a statement saying, "He will continue to fight these untrue allegations in court until his name is cleared."

The 49-year-old Cullerton is a cousin of state Senate President John Cullerton.

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