Arizona Capitol

Richard Miranda, Ex-State Representative, Going to Prison for Stealing From Charity

Former state Representative Richard Miranda is going to prison for a couple years for treating his charity to help out the impoverished as the Richard Miranda Wants More Money Fund.

Miranda, a 55-year-old Democrat, won a 27-month trip to prison this morning for stealing from his charity, and then evading the taxes on his new-found income.

According to the Department of Justice, Miranda was the executive director of a charity that -- at one point -- provided food, clothing, and educational assistance to those in need, including migrant farm workers.

Miranda jacked more than $212,000 from the charity -- Centro Adelante Campesino -- and "unlawfully obtained" more than $18,000 from the Arizona Latino Caucus Foundation.

He started his scheme to "wind down" the charity in 2005, taking over as its accountant and selling its only asset -- a $250,000 building.

That money started to dissipate after Miranda starting writing checks to himself, paying off more than $60,000 in credit-card debt and spending more on personal travel, services, clothing, food, and household items, according to the Justice Department.

Even if he wasn't defrauding the charity -- which he was -- he didn't let the IRS know about his new source of income.

Miranda pleaded guilty to two charges in March, resigning from his spot at the Legislature and agreeing to repay nearly $250,000 in restitution as part of a plea agreement.

He faced up to 25 years in prison based on the charges, but the sentence of just more than two years was expected.

Many of the details of Miranda's scheme can be found in his plea-agreement documents.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley