Former El Cajon Councilwoman Pleads Guilty

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    Jillian Hanson-Cox in a file photo.

    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.

    El Cajon Councilwoman Resigns

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    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.

    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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