North Idaho Lawmaker Convicted On Federal Fraud Charge
A Dallas jury has found Idaho state Rep. John Green (R-Post Falls) guilty on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States in a scheme involving laundering gold coins to avoid paying income taxes.
Federal prosecutors say Green accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gold coins and cash that his clients, Thomas and Michelle Selgas, didn't report to the Internal Revenue Service. Green deposited the money in bank accounts associated with his law practice.
They say Green then used that money to pay the Selgas’ personal expenses.
Green could face up to five years in prison. It's unclear when he will be sentened.
Thomas Selgas was also convicted of tax evasion and conspiracy to defraud the United States, though his wife was acquitted after telling the judge she had no knowledge of the scheme, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Green told the Associated Press that he plans to appeal his conviction to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and will not resign from the state legislature. “I'm going to finish my term, and we'll see what happens,” he said.
He plans to return to the Idaho Capitol Monday. He said he's not planning to defend the seat in this year's election because he'll likely be in prison.
“I'll probably get sent to do some time,” Green said, maintaining his innocence.
“I've been an attorney for 30 years, and I know how these things go,” he said. “It is what it is. A lot of innocent people get convicted.”
It’s unclear what happens to his House seat. The Idaho Constitution says anyone convicted of a felony who hasn’t had their civil rights restored are barred from holding public office, though it doesn’t say if it takes effect upon conviction or when a person is sentenced.
Despite that, the Idaho Attorney General’s office says that the House ultimately decides whether or not to expel a sitting lawmaker. Such a move would require a two-thirds vote by the entire body.
House Speaker Scott Bedke (R-Oakley) said he was researching what the process might look like.
Requests for comment from Gov. Brad Little’s office and the Idaho Republican Party were not immediately returned.
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