By Sandra Rose  | 

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Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum and an associate were indicted Wednesday on conspiracy and wire fraud charges, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida Jason R. Coody announced.

Gillum, 42, and Sharon Janet Lettman-Hicks, 53, are accused of unlawfully soliciting funds between 2016-19 through false and fraudulent promises.

The 21-count indictment alleges Gillum and Lettman-Hicks used third parties to divert funds to a company owned by Lettman-Hicks, who then fraudulently misrepresented the funds as payroll payments.

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The funds were allegedly diverted by Gillum for his own personal.

Both defendants are charged with 19 counts of wire fraud and Gillum is also charged with making false statements to the FBI, a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

Gillum and Lettman-Hicks also face 20 years in prison on the conspiracy to commit fraud charge, and 20 years for wire fraud.

Gillum acknowledged the charges in a written statement to NBC News. He claimed the federal case is a political hit job.

"I have spent the last 20 years of my life in public service and continue to fight for the people," Gillum told NBC News. "Every campaign I've run has been done with integrity. Make no mistake that this case is not legal, it is political. Throughout my career I have always stood up for the people of Florida and have spoken truth to power.

"There's been a target on my back ever since I was the mayor of Tallahassee. They found nothing then, and I have full confidence that my legal team will prove my innocence now."

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Gillum, who lost to Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2018, was endorsed by former President Barack Obama, among other Black elites.

Gillum's political career has been hamstrung by one scandal after another.

His fall from grace began when he was found unconscious on the bathroom floor of a hotel room registered in the name of a gay male escort in Florida.

The married father of three came out as bisexual during an appearance on The Tamron Hall show in 2020.