A Grand Jury indicted Mindy Shields, daughter of influential Phoenix lobbyist Billy Shields, for Class 2 felony theft.
The charges against Mindy Shields stem from the embezzlement of more than $77,000 from Friends of Greg Stanton, a political campaign belonging to the former councilman and Phoenix mayoral candidate. Shields, a close friend of Stanton's, was his campaign treasurer since early 2000.
Mindy Shields pleaded not guilty on May 31 and is scheduled to appear in court for a pre-trail conference at 8:15 a.m. on July 14.
According to state-sentencing guidelines, a first-time Class 2 felony offender faces a minimum three years in prison, if there are mitigating circumstances involved in the offense, and as many as 12.5 years.
Maricopa County Superior Court records note that between July 24, 2006 and December 12, 2009, Shields drained the campaign account. Billy Shields, former president of the Phoenix firefighter's union, loaned his daughter the money. She then repaid Stanton's campaign.
Stanton told New Times in November 2009 that he became aware of the missing funds in October 2009, some time after he asked Shields to make a $500 donation to Aguila, a nonprofit organization for college-bound Latinos. Shields wrote the check, but it bounced and someone from the organization told Stanton.
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A campaign-finance report that Shields filed on February 2, 2009 shows there should have been a balance of $92,770.98 in the account. Following that report, Shields submitted five others to the City Clerk's Office suggesting there was no account activity through December 15, 2009.
All the campaign statements are signed by Shields, and with her signature, she certified that under the penalty of perjury, the information she was turning in was "complete, true, and correct."
But if a $500 check bounced in October, it must mean the account already was drained by February 2, 2009.
The Arizona Republic reported in February that Shields lost her full-time job at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix in late 2009. She was the university's associate director of community relations. The indictment was handed down May 17.