There’s embezzlement, and then there’s this:
Former Arizona Rep. Richard Miranda, who resigned from the Legislature last month citing family and health reasons, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to felony wire fraud and attempted tax evasion.
The 56-year-old Democrat from Tolleson will be sentenced in June and could face up to 25 years in federal prison for selling a Surprise building owned by a non-profit he ran and pocketing the money.
He also will likely have to pay several hundred thousand dollars in restitution to the non-profit, Centro Adelante Campesino Inc., and tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid federal taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.
“I have accepted all responsibility for my actions,” Miranda said after the court hearing. “I would like to thank my family, friends and supporters in the community. I hope in the future I can overcome the hurt and disappointment I have caused.”
This case is the latest in a bipartisan string of ethical or criminal inquiries for the Arizona Legislature over the past two years. Republican Sen. Scott Bundgaard and Democratic Rep. Daniel Patterson faced criminal charges and ethics investigations amid domestic-violence allegations. And more than a dozen Republicans and Democrats were investigated over gifts or trips provided by Fiesta Bowl lobbyists.
Surprise? We imagine so.