Renee Chenault-Fattah, wife of the indicted Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), was not charged by federal authorities Wednesday - but the longtime NBC10 anchor did not escape the U.S. attorney's charging document.
Labeled as "Person E" throughout the 85-page indictment, Chenault-Fattah, one of the station's most visible personalities and anchor of the 4 and 6 p.m. broadcasts, is portrayed as a participant in a scheme to falsely report the sale of her 1989 Porsche Carrera convertible to a lobbyist for $18,000.
The Fattahs used the cash to help buy a $425,000 vacation house in the Poconos, the indictment says, but Chenault-Fattah kept the Porsche - and even renewed its registration and took it to an auto shop months after signing the title over to the lobbyist, Herbert Vederman.
Chenault-Fattah, 57, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. A spokeswoman for NBC10, Shawn Feddeman, said the station had no comment. Anchor Jim Rosenfield, speaking during Wednesday's 4 p.m. newscast, said Chenault-Fattah "is now on leave."
The indictment says Chenault-Fattah e-mailed Vederman in January 2012 about purchasing her car.
"I had talked to a coworker this past summer, but would much rather it be in your possession," she wrote, according to the indictment. "Asking for $18,000 which is a steal."
The Fattahs were buying a vacation home in Shohola, Pa., the indictment says, and had agreed to pay just over $19,000 in settlement costs at closing.
Property records indicate the house, near the Delaware River north of Milford, has about 2,800 square feet with three bedrooms, 21/2 bathrooms, a fireplace, and a deck.
Vederman wrote back to Fattah, "love to purchase" the car, according to the indictment, and later wired $18,000 to Fattah.
To cement the transaction, Fattah provided a bank a copy of a bill of sale for the vehicle, the indictment says, which Chenault-Fattah had signed as the seller.
Fattah also provided a copy of the title to the Porsche to the bank, the indictment says.
Two days later, according to the indictment, the Fattahs had their mortgage for the Poconos property approved.
Fattah also hired Vederman's girlfriend to his staff as the transactions were taking place, according to the indictment.
Despite apparently selling the car to Vederman in January, the indictment says, Chenault-Fattah in May renewed the car's registration in her name, had the vehicle serviced in Conshohocken in June, and adjusted the car's insurance for the winter in November.
Federal agents also saw the car in Fattah's garage in March 2014, the indictment says, more than two years after the transaction supposedly occurred.
Chenault-Fattah started with NBC10 in 1991, according to her biography on the station's website.
In the late 1990s she broadcast segments on her own pregnancy, which was achieved through anonymous artificial insemination. She has anchored each of the network's prime-time newscasts, including the 11 p.m. news, which she hosted with Larry Mendte from 1997 to 2003.
A lawyer before she became a journalist, Chenault-Fattah is said to earn a substantial salary from NBC10. But she fought to keep the figure private during her husband's mayoral run in 2007, and his federal financial disclosure reports do not specify how much she earns.