Former El Cajon Councilwoman Pleads Guilty

By Paul Krueger and Sarah Grieco
|  Friday, Sep 14, 2012  |  Updated 3:44 PM PDT
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El Cajon Councilwoman Resigns

Jillian Hanson-Cox in a file photo.

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El Cajon Councilwoman Resigns

Political consultant John Hoy tells NBC 7 that he was surprised to hear when El Cajon Councilwoman Jillian Hanson-Cox retired a few days after her home was searched by agents. Mari Payton reports.
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A former El Cajon councilwoman admitted to stealing $3.5 million from victims in court on Friday.

Jillian Hanson-Cox pleaded guilty to felony charges of mail fraud and making a false tax return. She faces 23 years in prison and a $7 million fine.

Hanson-Cox abused her position at Century Design Inc. by writing unauthorized checks for four years, said a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office.

Many were surprised when Cox’s home was searched by federal agents in March. Friends said she was planning for a third term on the city council and political observers called her a "real community leader.”

Hanson-Cox wrote a letter to the mayor and council members shortly after her home was searched, saying events had “given rise to a burden and demand” on her time. Hanson-Cox was El Cajon's deputy mayor.

The plea deal allows her to remain free on $100,000 bond, but the does not limit her sentence.

Cox could get the maximum punishment of 23 years. She will be sentenced on Dec. 3 in federal court.

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