Arizona lawmaker pleads guilty in corruption case - New York News

Arizona lawmaker pleads guilty in corruption case

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Ben Arredondo Ben Arredondo
Arredondo on his way to court 10/5/12 Arredondo on his way to court 10/5/12
PHOENIX -

He was in the Arizona House of Representatives and before that, a longtime Tempe City Councilman.

But now Ben Arredondo is a felon.  On Friday, he plead guilty to two fraud felonies in federal court and resigned from the State House.

Arredondo told a judge, yes, he accepted $6,000 in sports tickets in exchange for helping developers buy land in Tempe.

Only the "developers" were undercover agents.  It was an FBI sting and Arredondo got nailed.

Arredondo didn't talk as he walked into the federal court building.

In addition to taking the sports tickets, he also admitted to setting up a scholarship for needy students and then siphoning off almost $50,000 to help his own relatives pay for college.

Arredondo could be looking at about 2½ years behind bars and pay back the 50 grand.

After his court appearance, he resigned from the State House.

"Well, I mean it is unfortunate this happened, but the right thing to do..we need a replacement as soon as possible and more important, we need a serious conversation about ethics reform," said Rep. Chad Campbell, a Phoenix Democrat.

Some lawmakers back legislation, so every perk and freebie is reported and easy to see.

"We want the people who want to know to be able to find out easily..right now, if you want to find out who has paid the expenses of a legislator, you have to wait," said Sen. Jerry Lewis, a Mesa Republican.

Meanwhile, Arredondo has some waiting to do.  Until next January, when he will be sentenced by a federal judge.

The maximum penalty is 20 years on each of the fraud counts and a $500,000 fine.

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