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Ex-Arizona Rep. Rick Renzi convicted in federal corruption case

Sabah Arar / AP file

Former Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., during a visit to Baghdad in 2007. Renzi was convicted of 17 of 32 federal corruption charges Tuesday, June 11, in Tucson, Ariz.

Former Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., was convicted Tuesday of federal corruption charges involving land deals and his family insurance business.

Renzi, 55, was convicted of 17 of 32 counts in U.S. District Court in Tucson.  His defense team said in a statement that while Renzi was acquitted of 15 counts, "we are disappointed by every guilty verdict."

Renzi, who served on the House Intelligence Committee during his three terms in Congress from 2003 to 2009, was released pending sentencing, which was scheduled for Aug. 19, and had no comment, according to the Arizona Republic.

"Former Congressman Renzi's streak of criminal activity was a betrayal of the public trust and abuse of the political process," Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department's Criminal Division said in a statement. "After years of misconduct as a businessman, political candidate and member of Congress, Mr. Renzi now faces the consequences for breaking the laws that he took an oath to support and defend."

Most of the counts carry maximum sentences of 20 years in prison.

Renzi  was indicted in February 2008 on federal charges of racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering, extortion, making criminal transactions and making illegal campaign contributions  — insurance fraud was added to the list in 2009.

According to a superseding indictment, Renzi concealed his involvement in land deals involving two companies and exploited his position on the House Natural Resources Committee to speed things along.

He was also accused of stealing clients' premiums from his insurance business to help pay for his 2002 congressional campaign.

James W. Sandlin, a real estate investor and business associate of Renzi's, was also convicted. The indictment said he repaid loans to Renzi using proceeds from the illegal deals, some of which Renzi didn't report and used in his 2002 campaign.

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