Austin state Rep. LaShawn Ford will head to court, Aug. 4, to fight bank fraud charges stemming from a November 2012 federal indictment. 

Ford has vehemently denied the charges and insists he is innocent and has committed no crimes. 

The 8th District state rep is accused of using a fraudulently-obtained line of credit from now-defunct ShoreBank to pay off gambling debts, car loans, and other mortgages owned by the bank. He’s also accused of using some of that money to run for state representative in 2006. 

Ford maintains that the half-million dollars in credit was used to rehab homes in Austin and other parts of the West Side, which is why the line of credit, in addition to a two-year extension on it, was originally sought. As the owner of Ford Desired Real Estate, he insists he was already financially well off and didn’t need to steal money. Every property that ShoreBank approved money for was completely rehabbed while the sale of two other properties fell through when the housing market tanked, Ford said. 

ShoreBank shut down in 2010 and now operates as Urban Partnership Bank. 

Ford intends to fight the charges. In a recent interview with Austin Weekly News, he said he hopes the charges will be thrown out. The 17-count indicted was handed down in late November 2012, each one carrying a $1 million fine, mandatory restitution, and a maximum 30-year prison term. Ford pled not guilty to the charges during his December 2012 arraignment. 

He was elected 8th District state rep in 2006.