An Arizona Democrat state representative was indicted by a grand jury on charges including felony fraud plus other charges in relation to lying on a food stamp application.
Rep. Cecilia Velasquez, who also goes by Ceci, must appear in court on July 5. Tim Jeffries, the director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security, announced that Velasquez is facing three felony charges of fraud, theft and unlawful use of food stamps.
Velasquez, who represents Arizona legislative district 29, claimed on Twitter that she is innocent seemingly following the lead of Hillary Clinton in attacking the investigation as a “political witch hunt.”
I have done nothing wrong! This is a political witch hunt. I'm confident that justice WILL prevail once all the facts are known!
— Ceci Velasquez (@cecivelasquez_) June 22, 2016
Despite her tweet claiming innocence, ABC 15 says that Velasquez did not respond to any attempt on their part to interview her regarding the matter. Reporter Jon Erickson said, “We knocked on her door, called her office, called her personal line, emailed her, and tweeted her all to give her a chance to respond to the fact that she’s been indicted on three felonies, including the charge of illegally using food stamps.”
Velasquez ignored all of their attempts to reach her.
In a statement about the case, Jeffries praised all those involved in the investigation and the decision by the grand jury to indict Velasquez.
“The Arizona Department of Economic Security is vigilantly committed to protecting the public trust and taxpayer funds, safeguarding precious resources for the poor and disadvantaged, ensuring justice for all and defending the rule of law.”
Despite her claims of innocence, DES believes they have a solid case against her following the investigation that was launched in December 2014. Authorities began their investigation after receiving a tip on the fraud hotline.
On her application for food stamp benefits, Velasquez claimed that she had two dependents and gave a false address. In addition, she allowed two other people to use her food stamp benefits card. Her alleged deception cost taxpayers $1,726 between November 1, 2013 and January 31, 2015.
Aaron Borders, a Republican who ran against Velasquez in 2014, called her out on Twitter.
— Aaron Borders (@AaronBorders4AZ) June 22, 2016
Borders also called on Velasquez to resign, pledging to help any Republican who challenges her this fall.
“I think the right thing for her to do is resign. It basically is a slap in the face [to constituents].”
Velasquez was called out by others on Twitter for stealing from the poor.
@cecivelasquez_ Got caught stealing money from poor people. Shame on you.
— Bill Marcy (@UnHolyFamily) June 22, 2016
If Velasquez has any level of respect for those she is supposed to represent, she would take Borders’ advice and resign immediately. Should she choose not to resign, voters should send her home packing in November. Maybe by then, she’ll be a resident of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s tent city.