Former Arizona Congressman Gets Prison Sentence for Charity Fund Abuse
Richard David Miranda, a former Arizona state representative, used his credit union accounts to fraudulently deposit more than $140,000 from a charity where he served as executive director.
Miranda was sentenced Tuesday to 27 months in prison for the crime and evading income tax related to the unlawfully obtained funds, according to the FBI’s Phoenix field office, IRS and other agencies.
Miranda served as executive director of Centro Adelante Campesino Inc., a nonprofit charitable organization that provided food, clothing and educational assistance to persons in need, including migrant farm workers in and around Maricopa County, Ariz.
According to the Justice Department's Criminal Division, Miranda admitted in May 2005 to initiating a scheme to wind down Centro, sell the charity’s building, which was its sole remaining asset, and use the proceeds for personal expenses.
Miranda removed the charity's longstanding volunteer accountant as an authorized signer on the charity's bank and credit union accounts, and assumed sole control of the charity's accounts and financial records, officials said. He also told the volunteer accountant that the proceeds of the building’s sale would be used to fund scholarships.
In March 2007, the building was sold for $250,000 and $144,576, was wired across state lines into Centro's credit union account.
Officials said Miranda admitted to making withdrawals without authorization or knowledge of Centro's board of directors including two checks for $37,000 to pay off more than $60,000 of personal credit card debt. He also used approximately $46,836 to pay off additional personal debts and make numerous purchases for personal travel, services, clothing, food and household items.
Miranda failed to report the proceeds of the building sale as income on his IRS Form 1040 for calendar year 2007, according to the district attorney.
On March 14, 2012, Miranda pleaded guilty to fraud. As part of his plea agreement, he agreed to resign from office and was ordered to pay $230,342 in restitution – $212,220 for funds he unlawfully obtained from Centro and an additional $18,122 he unlawfully obtained from the Arizona Latino Caucus Foundation.
Miranda, 55, of Tolleson, Ariz., served as a member of the Arizona House of Representatives for the 13th District from 2011 until his resignation Feb. 20, 2012. He also served as a member of the Arizona State Senate from 2002 until 2011, and the Arizona House of Representatives from 1999 until 2002.