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Paul Ben Arredondo, Arizona Lawmaker, Charged With Bribery, Fraud

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PAUL BEN ARREDONDO
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By Tim Gaynor

PHOENIX, May 16 (Reuters) - An Arizona legislator was indicted on Wednesday on bribery, fraud and attempted extortion charges for allegedly receiving $6,000 in tickets to sports and other events in exchange for help securing property deals, authorities said.

The federal grand jury indictment charges Democratic state Representative Paul Ben Arredondo, 63, with bribery, mail fraud, extortion and making false statements, the Justice Department said in a news release.

Arredondo was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in November 2010. The charges stem from his alleged activities during a 16-year stint as council member and as representative elect to the legislature.

The indictment alleges he accepted, agreed to accept and solicited sports and events tickets valued at more than $6,000 from representatives of a company that sought to acquire city-owned property in Tempe to develop.

The representatives were, in fact, undercover agents with the FBI.

In return for those tickets, Arredondo took and agreed to take action in his capacity as a Tempe city council member and as a member of the Arizona House of Representatives to facilitate the undercover agents' purported purchase of city-owned property.

The indictment alleges that Arredondo brokered meetings between the undercover agents and other public officials, divulged information regarding the city of Tempe's bidding process and attempted to persuade other city officials to approve the purported development project.

The indictment further alleges that Arredondo lied to the FBI about his conduct during an interview in January 2012.

Reuters contacted Arredondo's office for comment, but did not immediately receive a reply. If convicted, he faces jail terms of between 5 and 20 years and fines. (Reporting By Tim Gaynor; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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