State lawmaker pleads guilty, will resign from office

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Rep. Ben Arredondo, D-Tempe, pleaded guilty in federal court in Phoenix on Friday to two counts of mail fraud in connection with a charity.

That makes him the second Democratic state lawmaker this year to be brought down on felony charges.

In June, former state lawmaker Richard Miranda, D-Tolleson, pleaded guilty to ripping off a children's charity and going on a spending spree. He was sentenced to 27 months in prison.

Arredondo will also give up his seat in the Arizona State Legislature on Friday when a letter of resignation is hand-delivered to the Capitol.

According to a 19-page plea agreement reviewed in court, Arredondo faces a maximum of 40 years in prison and a $500,000 fine when he is sentenced on Jan. 22. But because he does not have a criminal history he's not likely to get the maximum sentence in the case.

An indictment charged Arredondo with soliciting and accepting sports and charity event tickets from FBI undercover agents and with disclosing confidential information while he was a Tempe City Council member.

Arredondo, 65, is said to be in poor health.

Arredondo is the fourth state lawmaker to resign amid scandal this year.

Scott Bundgaard, R-Peoria, and Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson, both resigned as they were being investigated for ethics violations stemming from domestic violence accusations.