AZ Legislative aideA quick search on the Internet for fraud cases will bring up pages of results; unfortunately, it’s not a new story.  However, there is a slight twist to this story that makes it stand out from the rest.

John Rowland Mills, age 49, was a longtime aide and staffer to House Republicans in the Arizona State Legislature.  However, an FBI indictment states that from December of 2006 to January of 2009 he transferred over $150,000 back and forth from then House Speaker Jim Weiers’ re-election campaign account.  He did this by writing 6 checks on which he forged Weiers’ signature.  He also altered the account records that are reported to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, in one case stating there was over $130,000 when in fact that was just over $5,000. 

During that time Mills used the money to invest in a new alternative fuel project as well as pay personal mortgage bills and other expenses. But here’s the twist, he paid it all back with interest before the start of the 2008 re-election campaign.

Statements from Weier indicated that he did not feel victimized by Mills and, since the money was returned, no real crime was committed; however, he was ultimately convicted on 9 wire fraud charges.  During the sentencing phase, U.S. District Judge James Teiborg threw out 8 of the convictions. Mills was sentenced to probation; a better deal than what was originally offered by the FBI, and rejected by Mills, of 20 months in prison and 5 years of probation. 

Although the intent was not to defraud and the money was ultimately returned by the time it was needed, John Mills still suffered the consequences of his crimes.  He resigned from his job in May of 2012, went through a lengthy trial process and will remain under close watch for a while.  This case is a good example of the level of seriousness that the FBI and federal investigators take when prosecuting cases of fraud.

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