Former state Senate candidate Elise Townsend has been indicted by a Yavapai County grand jury on two counts of fraud and theft by converting services or property, a class 2 felony. Each charge carries a prison sentence of three to 12.5 years.
Townsend ran for the Senate in 2006, hoping to replace then-Senate President Ken Bennett, who was termed out. Although she had Bennett’s endorsement, she dropped out of the race that summer amid rumors her company – Townsend Construction – was reeling toward bankruptcy. Her business did eventually file for Chapter 11 protection. It was later revealed that county GOP leaders asked her to drop out to avoid a scandal over a questionable business relationship with then-County Assessor Victor Hambrick. Since then there have been investigations by both the AG and Department of Real Estate into Hambrick. In late 2007, the Yavapai County Attorney began investigating allegations that Townsend’s company had knowingly passed more than $100,000 in bad checks. Among those allegedly defrauded is Bennett Oil, which was stuck with $52,000 in worthless checks from Townsend Construction, the Prescott Daily Courier reported today (Sept. 18). Townsend is due to be in court Tuesday for her initial appearance.
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