Farnham could lose pension over guilty plea

  • Former State Rep. Keith Farnham leaves the Dirksen Courthouse in Chicago after his court appearance.

      Former State Rep. Keith Farnham leaves the Dirksen Courthouse in Chicago after his court appearance. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 12/5/2014 5:26 PM

Former state Rep. Keith Farnham, an Elgin Democrat, will have his state pension suspended when he's sentenced on a child pornography charge, and the $1,237-per-month benefit would be taken away for good if the crime he pleaded guilty to Friday was committed on state time, a state retirement official said.

Farnham pleaded guilty to transportation of child pornography Friday, admitting, among other things, that he'd sent an email from his office computer about trading explicit material. He will remain free on bail until he is sentenced on March 19.

 

Tim Blair, executive director of State Retirement Systems of Illinois, said a felon who commits a crime as part of state employment can be declared ineligible to receive a pension.

When Farnham is sentenced, Blair said, the retirement system will send him a letter and suspend his pension, stopping the payments.

Then the Illinois attorney general's office will be asked for an opinion about whether the crime was part of Farnham's employment.

The General Assembly Retirement System's board could then vote based on that opinion, he said.

Blair said Farnham started collecting his $1,237 monthly pension April 1.

Lawmakers next year could consider taking pension benefits of convicted felons away earlier in the process.

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