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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nebraska

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Former State Senator Sentenced for Wire Fraud

United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg announced that Brenda Council, 60, was sentenced in the United States District Court in Omaha for the felony offense of wire fraud.  The Honorable Lyle E. Strom, Senior United States District Court Judge, sentenced Council to a 3 year term of probation and imposed a $500 fine.  No restitution was ordered as the funds have been repaid. 

Council, while a Nebraska State Senator, used campaign funds to place wagers at casinos in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.  Council solicited campaign contributions from individuals and businesses to fund her race to win reelection to the Nebraska Unicameral.  She misappropriated approximately $63,000 of campaign funds and used the monies for gambling between January of 2010 and July of 2012.

Periodic campaign statements accounting for contributions and expenses were filed with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission.  Many of the filings Council submitted were false as they failed to account for the conversion of campaign funds to finance her gambling.  Withdrawals from her election campaign account were frequently made by use of an ATM machine inside the casinos in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. 

United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg stated “this felony conviction addresses the breach of trust the public places in its elected officials.  This conviction serves as a notice to other public officials that there are severe consequences for violating the public trust.  This felony conviction involves the loss of a license to practice law, the forfeiture of the right to hold elected office and to vote.” 

Updated January 29, 2015