Democrat state legislator Ben Arredondo has pleaded guilty to two felonies related to public corruption in federal court today. Each felony count carries a maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years and $250,000 in fines. Up to $50,000 in restitution could also apply.
His plea deal includes his resignation from the Arizona Legislature.
Arredondo, 65, a former 16-year Tempe City Councilman, later elected in 2010 to Legislative District 17 (prior to redistricting), accepted bribes in exchange for services and “defrauded the residents of Tempe and Arizona,” according to the judge.
Arredondo solicited donations for a college scholarship he had set up for needy students and then gave nearly $50,000 from it to help his relatives attend Arizona colleges.
Seeing Red AZ covered his indictment HERE. He also tested positive for amphetamines.
Although caught in an FBI sting, his lawyer continued to allege that the charges against him were “manufactured.” In May 2012, Arredondo even pleaded not guilty to federal counts of bribery, mail fraud, lying and extortion. At the time, his lawyer Jose Montano called him “a dedicated public official targeted by the government in D.C.” He said, “Ben Arredondo is not for sale.”
We’re guessing Montano probably didn’t know his client.
Sentencing will take place on January 22, 2013.