State Representative and House Deputy Majority Whip Joseph S. Almeida has been arrested by the Rhode Island State Police Financial Crimes Unit for allegedly misappropriating $6,122.03 in campaign contributions for his personal use.
Today, Rep. Almeida, District 12 (Providence), was arrested and charged with Unlawful Appropriation over $1,500.00. Mr. Almeida is the Deputy Majority Whip in the Rhode Island House of Representatives.
An investigation by the Financial Crimes Unit originated from a complaint filed by the Rhode Island Department of Attorney General, who had received the results of a campaign finance audit of Almeida's campaign finances from the Rhode Island Board of Elections. The investigation revealed that Almeida made cash withdrawals and negotiated numerous checks drawn on his campaign account that were made payable to cash or himself and were not supported by expenditure documentation. Almeida was contacted twice by the Board of Elections to rectify the situation, but he failed to respond or provide satisfactory documentation to support the expenditures in question.
Based on the failure to rectify the situation with the Board of Elections, the matter was turned over to the Department of Attorney General Civil Division for review. This review concluded that Almeida provided some documentation to support a small portion of the expenditures and cash withdrawals used to pay campaign workers, but he was unable to provide any receipts or verification to support the remaining expenditures and cash withdrawals.
The Attorney General's Office subsequently contacted the Financial Crimes Unit of the Rhode Island State Police, who served a court-authorized search warrant on all bank account activity relating to any and all campaign accounts of Almeida. A review of these accounts determined that Almeida withdrew $6,748.03 in cash and checks that he negotiated made payable to himself or cash from the campaign account from May 29, 2012 through December 31, 2012. Of those expenditures, Almeida was only able to provide documentation for one expense used to pay a campaign worker $250.00. Cash deposits of $376.00 were also made during this same timeframe. Almeida was unable to account for the remaining $6,122.03 in cash withdrawals and checks made payable to cash and to himself that he negotiated against the account.
Almeida will be arraigned this afternoon in the Sixth Division District Court, Garrahy Judicial Complex, One Dorrance Plaza, Providence, Rhode Island.
A person convicted of felony unlawful appropriation shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than twenty (20) years or by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($50,000), or both.
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