Stapley arrested on suspicion of fraud - East Valley Tribune: News

Stapley arrested on suspicion of fraud

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Posted: Monday, September 21, 2009 10:42 am | Updated: 1:07 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office on Monday arrested County Supervisor Don Stapley on suspicion of 100 fraud-related counts involving his political campaigns, taxes and his mortgage and loan businesses.

Stapley was under indictment involving another criminal case until Friday, when the state dismissed those charges.

The Mesa Republican was arrested by deputies in the county building's parking garage and booked on suspicion of 93 felony and seven misdemeanor counts on the fraud-related charges, the sheriff's office said in a news release. Stapley used campaign funds to pay personal bills and pad personal accounts, the sheriff's office alleges.

Stapley appeared in court in a white dress shirt and dress slacks. He had no tie and his shoelaces were removed from his shoes. He was released by the court without posting bail.

Monday's arrest stems from an eight-month investigation into Stapley's business and campaign accounts and is unrelated to an earlier investigation.

The Yavapai County Attorney, who is prosecuting that case, dismissed that indictment Friday to concentrate on an appeal of a decision last month by the court to dismiss 51 misdemeanor counts.

Stapley was indicted in November on 118 counts alleging he failed to list business and real estate deals on financial disclosure forms he is required to file as an elected official.

Judge Kenneth Fields of Maricopa County Superior Court dismissed the 51 counts by agreeing with the defense that the law pertaining to financial disclosure was improperly enacted.

With the law being effectively nonexistent, Stapley could not break the law, his attorneys argued.

The Yavapai County Attorney decided that the remaining perjury, forgery and false swearing charges were too intertwined with the 51 dismissed counts to continue the case.

The sheriff's office wrote in a news release that Stapley appeared to be agitated during Monday's arrest and said to deputies: "You've got to be kidding me."

Stapley attorney Paul Charlton said the timing of the arrest - almost immediately following the dismissal of Stapley's earlier criminal case - was suspicious.

"It's vindictiveness. It's nothing more than that," said Charlton, a former U.S. attorney for Arizona.

According to court documents filed Monday, the sheriff's office alleges Stapley committed mortgage and loan fraud from September 2005 until September 2007 by either omitting information or overstating his assets to get loans.

The sheriff also alleges he committed campaign fraud by failing to report certain transactions.

A majority of the allegations stem from Stapley's run for elected office on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Counties, a group that advocates for the nation's counties.

He is currently the president of the association.

The court documents allege he solicited thousands of dollars from businesses and individuals to run, but he ran unopposed and then used the money to pay personal expenses and pad personal accounts.

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