A former legislative staffer convicted of wire fraud in connection with the theft of campaign funds from the former speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives walked out of federal court today with a sentence of probation.
Federal prosecutors had been asking for a prison term of 24 to 30 months after a jury convicted John Mills on nine counts of wire fraud in July, but Judge James Teilborg dismissed all but one count on Nov. 1.
The jury acquitted Mills of an additional six counts of wire fraud.
Mills stood accused of stealing $128,000 from the 2008 election campaign of former House Speaker Jim Weiers and wiring the money across state lines to make investments and for other personal uses.
Teilborg found that none of the wire transactions was in furtherance of the fraud, a required element of the crime. The one count that stood was for Mills returning the money to the campaign’s bank account. Teilborg reasoned that the final transaction was part of a larger scheme to hide the theft from Weiers.