These days, it is not fun to be Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont. This time last year, the elderly socialist was the hope of the progressive movement, albeit someone who had just got beat by Hillary Clinton. Now, though, Sanders and his wife are under investigation by the FBI for Bank Fraud, a peculiar crime for someone who rails against capitalism for a living. The turn of fortune is almost Shakespearean in its dimensions.

What have the Sanders allegedly done?

It all started when Jane Sanders was president of Burlington College, a school with less than two hundred students, and was applying for a $10 million loan to purchase 33 acres of land to build a new campus.

The property included a former orphanage and administrative offices owned by the Roman Catholic Church, which was looking for money to pay claims stemming from the sexual abuse of children by priests.

Ms. Sanders is accused of overstating the donations that the college was receiving by about $2 million to the People’s United Bank. Sen. Sanders is charged with using his office improperly to pressure the bank to approve the loan. Ms. Sanders left the college in 2011 with a generous $200,000 severance package. Largely because of the massive debt that the loan imposed, Burlington College collapsed and closed its doors in 2016.

How have Senator and Ms. Sanders responded?

Sanders and his wife have lawyered up, hiring Rich Cassidy, a prominent Vermont lawyer, for the senator and Larry Robbins, famous for having represented Scooter Libby, to protect Ms.

Sanders. The two are crying political prosecution, an accusation that has some resonance because the complaint was filed by Brady Toensing who had been chair of the Trump campaign in Vermont. A Sanders advisor Jeff Weaver points out that the financial board of the college approved the loan application.

What happens now?

Sanders and his wife are going to be consumed with fighting the charges when the senator would much rather be fighting to impose single-payer health care in America.

However, as they are convicted of bank fraud, they are facing penalties of up to $1 million in fines and up to 30 years in prison.

The senator will likely not face any political penalties as a result of being under federal investigation. He remains a popular, nationwide figure. The Republican Party is all but nonexistent in Vermont and would likely not be able to recruit a viable candidate to challenge Sanders. Of course, a conviction, even if it does not involve jail time, means that he has to leave the Senate and, especially at his age, end his political career.