Ex-Ariz. lawmaker charged in Calif. with forgery

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SAN DIEGO (AP) -- A former Arizona legislator who went to prison in 1990 in a public corruption scandal used his son's identity and clean record to get a California ID card and real estate license and has been working for 14 years as a broker and teacher in the real estate business, police and prosecutors said.

Donald James Kenney, 73, of Carlsbad, has been charged with five felonies including perjury, forgery and falsely impersonating his son, U-T San Diego reported Thursday.

Police and prosecutors said Kenney has been working in the San Diego area.

The son, a 44-year-old attorney in Washington state named Donald John Kenney, told investigators he did not give his father permission to use his identity, according to an arrest warrant for the senior Kenney.

Kenney appeared in court Wednesday. His arraignment was postponed to Aug. 29, and he was released without bail. He hung up the phone when called by a U-T reporter seeking comment.

Kenney, a former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in Arizona, pleaded guilty in 1990 to bribery, money laundering and other felonies stemming from attempts to legalize casino gambling in Arizona, a case that became one of the biggest public corruption scandals in the state's history. He was sentenced to five years in prison and served 14 months.

In 1998, according to police, Kenney used his son's name, birth date and other information to get an ID card from the California Department of Motor Vehicles then used the same information to get a license from the California Department of Real Estate.

When U-T San Diego began asking questions about his identity in April, the Department of Real Estate found Kenney had gotten the license fraudulently, ordered him to stop practicing real estate and referred the case to authorities.

San Diego police issued an arrest warrant this week. In it, an investigator wrote that he had met with Kenney at a Starbucks, where he admitted using his son's information when presented with the applications he'd filled out.

"Kenney told me he knew his conviction would preclude him from being licensed so he decided to use his son's information," the report said. "He told me he knew he made a mistake."

According to the warrant, Kenney told the investigator all of his real estate transactions were legal, and other than his Arizona corruption conviction, he had never been convicted of any crime.


Information from: U-T San Diego, http://www.utsandiego.com