Former policy analyst found guilty on nine counts of fraud

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Former policy analyst, John Rowland Mills, 49, of Glendale, Ariz. was found guilty of nine counts of wire fraud by a federal jury in Phoenix.

The case was tried before U.S. District Judge James A. Teilborg from July 9 through July 23. Sentencing is set for Tuesday, Oct. 8.

"The theft and misuse of approximately $133,000 of campaign funds, consisting primarily of contributions from individuals, is a serious offense," said John S. Leonardo, U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona. "My office stands ready to assist the people of Arizona in guaranteeing that campaign workers are not tempted to steal or misuse such funds in the future."

FBI Special Agent in Charge, Douglas G. Price, Phoenix Division, stated "Whenever an individual utilizes their position to defraud the public in their own personal gain by taking campaign contributions, it tarnishes our political process." Price also added that Mills' actions were fostered by greed.

"The voice of justice has spoken with a jury of his peers holding him accountable for defrauding the public," said Price. "The FBI and the United States Attorney's Office are committed to investigating and prosecuting those who choose to line their pockets with public funds."

The evidence at trial showed that from December 2006 through January 2009, Mills embezzled approximately $133,000 from the James P. Weiers 2008 campaign account (which consisted primarily of contributions from individuals).

The embezzled funds were used to make mortgage payments, personal items such as clothing, food, and credit card bills, and to make various investments, including investments via multiple E*Trade accounts.

Mills also made a variety of false statements in attempt to avoid detection, including forging the candidate's signature on nine campaign account checks and filing six campaign finance reports with the Arizona Secretary of State that falsely overstated the amount of money in the campaign account.

Finally, just before the 2008 election, Mills deposited money back into the campaign account in an attempt to avoid detection.

Each conviction for wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years, a maximum fine of $250,000, or both.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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