Jesse Jackson Jr., former congressman and son of Chicago civil rights leader the Rev Jesse Jackson, has been charged with spending campaign funds on personal expenses.
Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois is accused of misusing $750,000.
He and his wife Sandi Jackson, who is charged with tax fraud in the matter, intend to plead guilty, media report.
Jesse Jackson, a 47-year-old Democrat, resigned in November after acknowledging he was being treated for bipolar disorder.
“I offer no excuses for my conduct and I fully accept my responsibility for the improper decisions and mistakes I have made,” Jesse Jackson said in a statement.
Jesse Jackson is charged in federal court in Washington DC with conspiracy, fraud, and making false statements. Prosecutors say Sandi Jackson filed false tax forms that underreported how much tax the couple owed.
Jesse Jackson “unlawfully, willfully and knowingly combined, conspired, confederated and agreed” to commit offences against the US, prosecutors wrote in court documents.
Prosecutors say that between 2007 and 2009 Jesse Jackson Jr. used funds donated to his re-election campaign to buy a gold-plated Rolex watch worth $43,350, fur capes and parkas worth $5,150, and about $9,588 in children’s furniture.
He is also accused of failing to report $28,500 in gifts and loans to the House of Representatives, where he has served since 1995.
Jesse Jackson Jr. faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison; his wife faces up to three years, according to federal sentencing guidelines.
But Sandi Jackson’s lawyer said her plea deal “does not contemplate a sentence of that length”.
Other penalties against Jesse Jackson could include a fine of up to $250,000, US media report. In addition, authorities may try to seize more than $60,000 in memorabilia and furs linked to the alleged fraud.
Jesse Jackson has also been under investigation by the House ethics committee over his dealings with imprisoned ex-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted of trying to sell an appointment to President Barack Obama’s former US Senate seat and other corruption charges.
Jesse Jackson resigned from office on November 21, just weeks after winning re-election.