(Phoenix, Ariz. -- Dec. 27, 2006) Attorney General Terry Goddard and Gov. Janet Napolitano todayannounced that $17.7 million in forfeited funds from a major fraud case will be used to build a newDepartment of Public Safety Crime Lab in Tucson.
The announcement was made at a press conference this afternoon in Tucson. Joining the AttorneyGeneral and Governor were Arizona State Senate President Tim Bee, DPS Director RogerVanderpool and county sheriffs.
"It is highly appropriate that proceeds of criminal activity should go to fund this much-needed lawenforcement resource," Goddard said.
One of the crime lab's essential tasks will be forensic DNA analysis. The Arizona Department ofPublic Safety has been a national leader in using advanced DNA techniques for analyzing crimescene evidence. Because of space and equipment limitations, DPS currently has a significantbacklog of DNA cases, which the new Tucson Crime Lab will help alleviate.
The $17.7 million comes from the prosecution by the Attorney General's Office of C.P. Direct, aScottsdale-based company that marketed fake nutritional supplements. The company claimed someof its products would enlarge male sex organs and women's breasts.
The company's three principals pleaded guilty in 2003 to charges of fraud and money laundering.They agreed to forfeit personal and business assets obtained from their illegal business activities.Fraud is included in the state racketeering statute, which makes all criminal proceeds subject toforfeiture. Those funds can be used for a variety of law enforcement purposes.
A portion of the forfeited funds was used to compensate consumers who purchased thesupplements. Some 25,000 checks totaling more than $4 million were sent out earlier this year.
Another $2 million from the C.P. Direct proceeds is going to the Victim Compensation andAssistance Fund, Goddard said. That account is administered by the Arizona Criminal JusticeCommission.
Completion of the new crime lab is projected for January 2009.