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Former Veterans’ Services Director Indicted for Misuse of Public Money

(Phoenix, Ariz. – Nov. 19, 2009) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced the indictment of former Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services (AZDVS) Director Patrick Chorpenning, Sr., of Peoria, on charges relating to his alleged misuse of public money, procurement fraud and conflict of interest violations.

The indictment, returned late Wednesday, follows a two-and-a-half year investigation by the Arizona Auditor General’s Office and the Attorney General’s Special Investigations Section. Chorpenning, 62, was charged with four counts of conflict of interest, a Class 6 felony; one count of fraudulent schemes and practices, a Class 5 felony; two counts of misuse of public monies, a Class 4 felony; and one count of violation of procurement code, a Class 4 felony.

According to the Auditor General’s report released today, from 2002 to 2007, Chorpenning allegedly unlawfully authorized the expenditure of $751,440 of AZDVS funds.  

Specific allegations of misuse of public monies, procurement code violations and conflict of interest violations contained in the report include:

  • Conflicts of interest regarding his son’s employment. Payments for his son’s employment totaled $215,984.\
  • Conflicts of interest regarding his wife’s employment. His wife collected $114,104 in AZDVS payments.
  • Misuse of public monies totaling $124,084.
  • Circumventing procurement rules to purchase media and advertising services totaling $382,757.

“These allegations represent a serious misuse not only of public money but of a critical public trust,” Goddard said. “Arizona’s veterans have served their community and their country selflessly. We owe it to them to ensure the services and benefits they have earned are never inappropriately diverted.”

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Theodore Campagnolo. Copies of the indictment and the Auditor General’s report are attached and available on the Attorney General’s Web site, www.azag.gov. The report is also available on the Auditor General’s Web site, www.azauditor.gov.