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2 Renzi associates headed for federal court trial

Two associates of former Arizona Rep. Rick Renzi are set for trial this week in a case tied to allegations that the congressman looted his family insurance business to fund his campaigns and for personal expenses.

Andrew Beardall of Rockville, Md., was the Sierra Vista insurance firm’s president and lawyer from late 2002 through 2003. Dwayne Lequire was the company’s accountant and a director starting in July 2003.

Beardall is charged with conspiracy and two counts of insurance fraud. He is accused of helping Renzi cover up the siphoning of $400,000 from his insurance company to run his congressional campaign by making false statements and reports to two state insurance regulators.

Lequire is charged with conspiracy and 10 counts of embezzlement. He’s accused of helping Renzi cover up the funneling of hundreds of thousands of dollars in premiums paid by insurance customers to Renzi’s own accounts.

Both have pleaded not guilty. Their attorneys declined to comment.

Jury selection is set to begin in federal court in Tucson on Tuesday.

Renzi will be tried separately on the insurance-related charges. He also is accused with another co-defendant, James Sandlin, of engineering a swap of federally owned land to benefit himself and Sandlin. That trial also will be held separately. Renzi and Sandlin also have pleaded not guilty.

Renzi is appealing rulings made by trial court Judge David C. Bury denying a constitutional challenge to his indictment. That appeal has put the former three-term Republican lawmaker’s case on hold.

The initial indictment against Renzi was unsealed in February 2008. Renzi did not seek re-election and left office in January 2009.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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