AZ lawmaker Arredondo pleads guilty to felonies - CBS 5 - KPHO


AZ lawmaker Arredondo pleads guilty to felonies

Posted: Updated: Oct 5, 2012 04:29 PM MST
Ben Arredondo Ben Arredondo
Rep. Arredondo in court on Friday Rep. Arredondo in court on Friday

An Arizona legislator and former Tempe councilman has pleaded guilty to two felony charges stemming from an FBI sting.

Rep. Ben Arredondo, 65, pleaded guilty to honest services fraud and mail fraud. He could get up to 20 years in prison and pay more than a half million dollars in fines.

Arredondo pleaded guilty to honor services mail fraud, where he accepted gifts from a fictitious company in exchange for his vote and influencing others to vote the same way.

He also pleaded guilty to another count of mail fraud, where he solicited money from constituents for a scholarship he established that was supposed to go to underprivileged children. Instead, nearly $50,000 went to seven of his family members to go to school. That charge was filed on Friday.

Arredondo showed little to no emotion in court when he pleaded guilty. He said nothing as he left.

"It's unfortunate obviously," said Democratic Leader Chad Campbell. "I don't think this is a partisan issue. We have made sure that when our members get in trouble we have held them accountable."

Campbell said Arredondo was asked to step down and that they will work to fill that seat immediately.

Arredondo was charged in a five-count indictment in May.

He will be sentenced in this case on Jan. 22.

Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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