Former Arizona State Representative Sentenced to 27 Months in Prison for Wire Fraud and Tax Evasion Related to the Misuse of More Than $140,000 in Charity Funds
WASHINGTON – Former Arizona State Representative Richard David Miranda was sentenced today to 27 months in prison for defrauding a charity of more than $140,000 and evading income tax related to those unlawfully obtained funds, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Special Agent in Charge James L. Turgal of the FBI’s Phoenix Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Dawn Mertz of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Phoenix office.
Miranda, 55, of Tolleson, Ariz., served as a member of the Arizona House of Representatives for the 13th District from 2011 until his resignation, effective Feb. 20, 2012. Miranda previously served as a member of the Arizona State Senate from 2002 until 2011, and the Arizona House of Representatives from 1999 until 2002. Since July 2002, Miranda also served as executive director of Centro Adelante Campesino Inc., a non-profit charitable organization that provided food, clothing and educational assistance to persons in need, including migrant farm workers, in and around Maricopa County, Ariz.
On March 14, 2012, Miranda pleaded guilty to a two-count information charging him with defrauding Centro of more than $140,000 and evading income tax related to those unlawfully obtained funds. As part of his plea agreement, Miranda agreed to resign from office. Miranda was also ordered to pay a total of $230,342 in restitution ($212,220 for funds he unlawfully obtained from Centro, along with an additional $18,122 he unlawfully obtained from the Arizona Latino Caucus Foundation).
During his plea, Miranda admitted that, in May 2005, he initiated a scheme to wind down Centro, sell Centro’s sole remaining asset (a building), and use the proceeds of the sale for personal expenses. To do so, Miranda removed the charity’s longstanding volunteer accountant as an authorized signer on the charity’s bank and credit union accounts, and assumed sole control of the charity’s accounts and financial records. He also told the volunteer accountant that the proceeds of the sale would be used to fund scholarships. In March 2007, the building was sold for $250,000, and on March 7, 2007, a significant portion of the profits of that sale, $144,576, were wired across state lines into Centro’s credit union account.
Miranda also admitted that within one week of the wire transfer, he began to withdraw the proceeds from Centro’s credit union account without the authorization or knowledge of Centro’s board of directors. For example, Miranda obtained two checks payable to himself totaling $37,000 and paid off personal credit card debts totaling more than $60,000. By Dec. 31, 2007, Miranda had withdrawn the remaining proceeds (approximately $46,836) using checks, withdrawals and electronic funds transfers, and used the funds to pay off additional personal debts and make numerous purchases for personal travel, services, clothing, food and household items. Miranda also failed to report the proceeds of the sale as income on his IRS Form 1040 for calendar year 2007.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Monique T. Abrishami and Brian A. Lichter of the Public Integrity Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Frederick A. Battista of the District of Arizona. The case is being investigated by agents from the FBI Phoenix Field Office and IRS-CI Phoenix Office.