Matt SorensenResigning McLean County Board chairman Matt Sorensen is pleading not guilty to federal fraud charges.

Sorensen made his first court appearance before a judge at Chicago's Dirksen Federal Building Wednesday, after being charged with five counts of wire fraud for allegedly taking more than $400,000 in unearned consulting fees from his clients, including State Farm.

The conditions of Sorensen's bond prevent him from leaving the state without court permission or from possessing a firearm, but judge Michael T. Mason is allowing him to continue his consulting work.

Sorensen gave up his post as McLean County Board chairman Tuesday via a resignation letter.

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"I refuse to allow current issues to the employees and elected officials of McLean County," Sorensen wrote. "McLean County government has important work to do, and any effort or energy spent doing otherwise is a waste of public resources."

Sorensen had served as board chairman since 2007.

If he's convicted, each count of wire fraud carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a $250,000 fine. He'd also be required to make full restitution to State Farm and other clients.

Sorensen is due back in federal court for a status hearing on February 11.


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