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RI State Rep. Almeida Arrested, Resigns As House Whip

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

 

Rep. Joseph Almeida

Rhode Island State Representative Joe Almeida has resigned his post as Rhode Island House Democratic Whip, following his arrest on Tuesday by the Rhode Island State Police. 

Colonel Steven G. O'Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Commissioner of Public Safety, announced that members of the State Police Financial Crimes Unit arrested State Representative Joseph S. Almeida for allegedly misappropriating $6,122.03 in campaign contributions for his personal use.

Almeida, of 299 California Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island, was arrested Tuesday and charged with Unlawful Appropriation over $1,500.00. Mr. Almeida is the Deputy Majority Whip in the Rhode Island House of Representatives.

Speaker of the House Nicolas Mattiello issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon.

“I am very disappointed to learn of the arrest of Representative Almeida.  I have not spoken with him yet.  However, I received a letter from Representative Almeida today indicating that he has resigned his position as the Deputy Majority Whip.  Under the circumstances, I find this to be appropriate and I accept his resignation from his position on the Democratic Leadership Team.”  

Almeida sent a letter to Mattiello resigning his position as Deputy MInority Whip following the arrest on Tuesday. 

State Police Statement

AG Peter Kilmartin filed the initial complaint.

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 Mr. Almeida's campaign finances from the Rhode Island Board of Elections. The investigation revealed that Mr. 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. Mr. 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 Mr. 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 Mr. Almeida. A review of these accounts determined that Mr. 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, Mr. 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. Mr. 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.

Mr. 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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