Learn a little something about 'president' Paul Ryan's past
Paul Ryan's African-American college sweetheart has spent time in prison for wire fraud, it emerged today.
Deneeta Pope hit headlines after MailOnline revealed that she was the Republican vice-presidential candidate's ex-girlfriend who opened his eyes to the evils of racism.
She served five months in prison after defrauding her employer Ernst & Young out of $77,000 in 1999, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons.
Ms Pope admitted claiming funds from work to attend an educational course which did not exist.
Mr Ryan has stayed in touch with his ex over the two decades since they broke up. He even attended Ms Pope's wedding in May this year.
The former cheerleader was indicted by a grand jury in November 1999, and two years later pleaded guilty to faking receipts and expense claims in order to steal tens of thousands of dollars.
She would apparently transfer the fraudulently obtained funds to a secret bank account in Chicago, where she currently lives.
Following her conviction, Ms Pope was sentenced to five months in federal prison, and was released in May 2002.
Ms Pope now claims to be a Democrat and is a donor to Barack Obama, but in 1997 she gave money to her ex-boyfriend Mr Ryan to help his campaign for Congress in Wisconsin.
She registered to vote as a Democrat in Illinois in 2008. It is legal for ex-felons to vote in Illinois once they have served out their sentence.
A spokesman for Mr Ryan declined to comment on the reports of his ex-girlfriend's criminal past.
The news comes after Ms Pope told MailOnline how she met the future vice presidential candidate through friends at Miami University some 20 years ago.
The 40-year-old said: 'Paul is a very nice guy, a kind guy and a family guy. He's very approachable and a very likeable person.'
The relationship and the negative reaction he said he suffered from his so-called friends were a formative experience in the political evolution of the VP pick who described himself as a 'big, big fan' of Martin Luther King and is a staunch advocate of civil rights.
But Pope, an I.T. specialist and realtor living in Chicago, denies that they experienced any racism as a couple.
Pope also said that while their relationship was not very serious, they have remained friends through the years.
'It tells you the kind of guy Paul is when you learn that he has remained friends with all of his friends that he met in college.'
Michael Steel, campaign spokesman for Ryan, confirmed to MailOnline on Thursday that 'Mr Ryan dated Ms Pope in college' in the 1990s.
In a 2005 interview, Mitt Romney’s future running mate said that he had been confronted with racism personally, because he had dated an African-American and also had a brother with a black wife.
‘I have a sister-in-law who’s African American,’ he told Milwaukee Magazine. ‘My college sweetheart was black,' he added. ‘I just experienced some ugly comments, some racist views from people who I thought were friends of mine.'
Pope, who married her second husband, Michael Thompson, in May said Ryan and his wife were present at the nuptials. She said: 'A week before his vice presidential nomination, Paul and Janna came to our wedding in Chicago to see Michael and I get married.'
A registered Democrat since at least 2008, in 2009 she made three donations of $324 each to President Barack Obama's inaugural fund. 'I am indeed a Democrat. That’s no secret. But although I have a different political association to Paul, I support him and wish him continued success.'
Father-of-three Ryan, who has been married for 12 years, took centre stage on Wednesday night at the RNC with a powerful speech attacking Obama, just weeks after he was thrust to the top of American politics weeks ago.
Pope said she wasn't surprised by his electrifying remarks. She said: '[Ryan] has always been a good speaker.'
He appeared on the stage with his wife and three young children. But more than 20 years ago, it could have all worked out so differently.