Rick Renzi Found Guilty of Corruption Charges

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Convicted felon/former Congressman Rick Renzi.
Former Republican Congressman Rick Renzi was found guilty yesterday of 17 felony charges in his corruption trial.

Renzi's pal James Sandlin was also found guilty of 13 felony charges, in a corrupt land-swap deal, in which Renzi essentially used his position as a congressman to turn a profit.

See also:
-Congressman Rick Renzi and the Very Strange Coincidence

Per the U.S. Attorney's Office:

At the time, Sandlin owed Renzi $700,000 in future payments from their business dealings, and Renzi threatened a proponent of the land exchange that he would not support it unless they purchased Sandlin's property in Cochise County, Ariz. When that individual refused, Renzi promised a second proponent of a land exchange that he would support the exchange if they purchased Sandlin's property. According to an agreement reached in May 2005, Sandlin was paid $1 million in earnest money, out of which he paid $200,000 to Renzi. Just before Sandlin received the $1.6 million balance owed on the exchange, he paid an additional $533,000 to Renzi.

Evidence at trial further showed that from 2001 to 2003, Renzi engaged in insurance fraud by diverting his clients' insurance premiums to fund his first campaign for Congress, and he provided false statements to various state regulators who were investigating his activities.

Renzi was indicted in early 2008, and tried to claim immunity from charges as a member of Congress, which didn't fly.

Now, no matter how you add it up, Renzi's facing a sentence that amounts to life in prison. Some of the charges he was convicted of, including honest services wire fraud, extortion under color of official right, concealment money laundering, and racketeering, each carry maximum penalties of 20 years in prison. Conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and his convictions for making false statements to insurance regulators and transactional money laundering each carry maximum penalties of 10 years in prison.

And a few words from U.S. Attorney John Leonardo:

"Our democracy is undermined whenever our elected officials misuse the power entrusted to them by the voters to serve their own private interests rather than in the service of the public interest. The jury's verdict reinforces the fundamental principle that our society is governed by the rule of law, and that no citizen, including the most influential and powerful among us, is above the law."

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.



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21 comments
Mark Weld
Mark Weld

I guess I was right voting for the other guy....typical AZ GOP

Lucia Perry
Lucia Perry

How many kids does he have? 12? Does he belong to some weird cult like quiverfull?

saltywench
saltywench

"Our democracy is undermined whenever our elected officials misuse the power entrusted to them by the voters to serve their own private interests rather than in the service of the public interest."

That describes every elected official ever... in the history of ever....

car_del99
car_del99

So. when is pearce's trial  for corruption plus the joker ?

TaxpayingVoter
TaxpayingVoter

I knew he was guilty.  I know a few personal things about him from the 90s that he wouldn't want out in public, too....lol

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

The comment from John Leonardo:


"Our democracy is undermined whenever our elected officials misuse the power entrusted to them by the voters to serve their own private interests rather than in the service of the public interest. The jury's verdict reinforces the fundamental principle that our society is governed by the rule of law, and that no citizen, including the most influential and powerful among us, is above the law."

This comment pretty much describes the Republican leadership in Arizona.

AND THE SHERIFF OF MARICOPA COUNTY.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

Hey, Deconcini got away with it regarding his investments in the land where HE KNEW the Central Arizona Canal project would be located, why can't Renzi?

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967

I wish the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office worked this hard to indict and convict Arpaio, Thomas and their underlings.

Cozz
Cozz

So what now, a slap on the wrist and run for another office ?

It is the justice systems way for those politically involved or connected. It remains to be seen if he will even spend a day in prison.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@shadeaux14  We've had, and probably still have, our share of corrupt Democrats, too. You're not going to hear about them as often because there are simply far fewer Democrats in office.

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

@shadeaux14 Yeah Joe, how's that little real estate side business going for you? And now we wait for Jaffy to somehow defend the Rickster.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

Arpaio continues to get away with his land investments without disclosure expertshot.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Cozz

"Now, no matter how you add it up, Renzi's facing a sentence that amounts to life in prison."

I don't think you can cite any politicians who were convicted of 17 felonies and got a slap on the wrist.

 

ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

@valleynative @shadeaux14 The fact that there are fewer elected democrats in office in Arizona does not account for the much higher percentage of Republicans that have been involved in illegal, corrupt or immoral activities in this State.  Taken as a whole, the criminality of elected Republicans officially makes them a "Criminal Enterprise".  Count the Brewster's efforts to clip Social Security for her rapist son's mental health treatments and incarceration.


valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@ExpertShot @valleynative @shadeaux14 Can you document that a higher percentage of Republicans are corrupt, or is that just the impression you've formed because, as I say, you're more likely to hear about them?   I'm not familiar with Brewer's case, but if he's an adult and mentally disabled, why shouldn't SS pay for him?

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