Politics

Former GOP Rep. Rick Renzi Receives 3-Year Prison Sentence

| by Khier Casino

According to the Associated Press, former U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) was sentenced on Monday to three years in prison for convictions of 17 felony counts, including public corruption, money laundering and acquitted on 15 other charges. He was also fined $25,000.

Co-defendant James Sandlin, 62, received 18 months in prison and a $12,500 fine by U.S. District Judge David C. Bury. He is also convicted of 13 felonies including conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and extortion. Both men will start their prison terms in January.

"I'm not wise enough to know why good people do bad things — I think character and avarice have something to do with it," Bury said. "That's what happened here. Two good men committed bad acts."

Renzi, 55, represented Arizona's 1st Congressional District from January 2003 until he resigned in 2009. He was also convicted of funneling funds from an insurance company he managed into personal and campaign accounts, Reuters reports.

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The government said Renzi used some of that money, which was intended for insurance premiums, to fund his first congressional campaign in 2002. He was indicted in 2008 and decided not to run for re-election the same year.

"Mr. Renzi abused the power - and the corresponding trust - that comes with being a member of Congress by putting his own financial interests over the interests of the citizens he had sworn to serve," acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman said in a statement.

"He fleeced his own insurance company to fund his run for Congress, and then exploited his position for personal gain. Mr. Renzi's conviction and today's sentence demonstrate the Justice Department's commitment to fighting corruption at the highest levels of government," she added.

Both men are scheduled to go to jail on January 6 and will serve three years supervised probation upon release.