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February 22 2008 Flagstaff Arizona U
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February 22, 2008 - Flagstaff, Arizona, U.S. Representative Handed a 35-Count Indictment

Richard G. Renzi, 49, a U.S. Representative from Arizona’s first congressional district James W. Sandin, 56 a real estate investor from Sherman Texas and Renzi’s business associate and Andrew Beardall, 36, another business associate of Renzi’s from Rockville, Maryland were handed a 35-count indictment for Wire Fraud, Money Laundering and Extortion.

The indictment is complicated.  Renzi and Sandlin owned land together at one time and Renzi bought out Sandlin’s interest for $200,000 and carried a note for $800,000.  The indictment further alleges that in 2005, at a time when Sandlin still owed Renzi $700,000 in principal on the note, Renzi insisted that two separate entities doing business in Arizona purchase Sandlin’s property in exchange for his support on land exchange legislation.

According to the IRS -

The indictment also alleges that Renzi failed to disclose to either entity Sandlin’s $700,000 debt to him; that after the second entity purchased Sandlin’s property, Renzi failed to disclose to that group the $733,000 he received from Sandlin at the commencement and close of escrow in the spring and fall of 2005; and that Renzi failed to disclose to Congress his earnings from Sandlin in his 2005 financial disclosure statement. Finally, the indictment traces the manner in which Renzi and Sandlin used the alleged proceeds of the above unlawful activities for their own personal and business use.

The remaining counts include embezzling, violation of federal insurance laws from a trust account of the Patriot Insurance Agency, Inc., which was a trust owned by the Renzi family to fund Renzi’s political campaign.

Renzi allegedly used his public office to force a land sale to financiall benefit himself and his business associate.  The defendants were summonsed to appear for the arraignment on March 6, 2008.