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Convicted ex-Ald. Willie Cochran to report Friday to federal prison camp in West Virginia

The former Chicago police officer admitting taking $14,000 more than he put into a 20th Ward charitable fund, using the money for personal expenses.

Ald. Willie Cochran faces sentencing Monday for wire fraud.
Former Ald. Willie Cochran (20th) pleaded guilty to wire fraud in March.
Sun-Times file photo

Five months after pleading guilty to wire fraud, former Ald. Willie Cochran (20th) was set to report to a federal prison camp in West Virginia Friday to begin his yearlong sentence.

In March, Cochran, a former Chicago police officer, acknowledged he took $14,000 more than he put into a 20th Ward charitable fund, using the money for personal expenses.

“I don’t think he’s longing to go to jail, but besides that he’s in good spirits,” Cochran’s attorney, Christopher Grohman, said Friday. “He’s a good person who made a mistake and ultimately is going to have to pay for that mistake. When he gets out, everybody hopes he can continue to make a positive impact on the community.”

Grohman said Cochran would serve his sentence — 12 months plus one day — at the minimum-security prison camp at the Gilmer Federal Correctional Institution in north central West Virginia. The Federal Bureau of Prisons website says the camp houses 88 other inmates.

After his sentencing hearing in June, Cochran accused prosecutors of lying and hiding evidence, and he said he was treated unfairly compared to former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, who struck a deal that will likely end his own corruption case without a conviction.

“There’s no justice in this,” Cochran told reporters. “I’m not happy about it. My family’s not happy about it. But you know, the fact of the matter is, it’s never going to be right. Not under these circumstances.”