Tax and Wire Fraud Earns Former Ariz. State Rep. 27-Month Prison Sentence

Richard David Miranda, a former Arizona State Representative, has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for defrauding the charity for which he served as executive director. Mr. Miranda fraudulently acquired over $140,000 from Centro Adelante Campesino Inc. and then failed to report the money on his federal income tax return.

Mr. Miranda previously served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 1999 to 2002 and 2011 until he resigned on February 20, 2012 and in the Arizona State Senate from 2002 to 2011. Beginning in 2002, Mr. Miranda was also the executive director of the nonprofit Centro Adelante Campesino Inc. (CAC), which provided clothing, food, and educational assistance to Maricopa County residents in need of help, including the county’s population of migrant farm workers.

According to the Justice Department, Mr. Miranda pleaded guilty of defrauding CAC of over $140,000 and of evading his tax obligations with regard to those funds. Mr. Miranda admitted to initiating a plan in May 2005 to wind down CAC, sell the nonprofit’s building (which was its only remaining asset), and to use the funds obtained from the sale for his personal expenses. To further this plan, he took over control of CAC’s financial records and its credit union and bank accounts, removing the nonprofit’s volunteer accountant from those accounts. The building was sold in March 2007 for $250,000.

Although Mr. Miranda had told the charity’s accountant that these proceeds would fund scholarships, more than half the proceeds were almost immediately wired into CAC’s credit union account, which Mr. Miranda used as his own private resource. By the end of 2007, Mr. Miranda had drained more than $144,000 from CAC’s account to pay personal debts and expenses. In addition, Mr. Miranda committed tax fraud by failing to report the money he took from the charity on his federal income tax return.

His plea agreement required Mr. Miranda to resign from his office in the Arizona House of Representatives. He must also pay $230,342 in restitution.

Waters & Kraus is a national firm with highly skilled lawyers practicing qui tam litigation in four offices, including Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Baltimore. Our attorneys have decades of experience successfully representing whistleblowers in a variety of fraud cases. Contact us or call our attorneys at 800.226.9880 to learn more about our practice and how we can assist.

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