Lake Havasu man disrupts court as he’s sentenced to prison
KINGMAN — A Lake Havasu City man was sentenced to prison Friday after being convicted of 18 criminal counts.
Leighton Lionel Ward, 43, was convicted of two counts of fraudulent schemes and artifices, eight counts of forgery, four counts of preparing false documents for filing and one count of theft. He also was convicted of three misdemeanor counts of recording a false document.
Ward, who represented himself in the case, became disruptive in court as the judge spoke and waived his presence. He was taken to a neighboring jury room, where he could listen to the proceedings.
Ward’s advisory attorney, Jacob Chavez, asked for a mitigated sentence citing Ward’s lack of criminal history and support from his family, who attended Friday’s sentencing.
Ward continued to argue that no one had provided any facts or documents against him and that the court had violated his constitutional rights. He also called the judge and the prosecutor criminals from the jury room by way of an intercom.
“Mr. Ward, you are a criminal,” Superior Court Judge Rick Lambert said in response.
Chief Deputy Mohave County Attorney James Schoppmann asked the judge to consider statements from the victims, who were conned by Ward.
Schoppmann, in asking for the maximum sentence, said Ward did not show remorse and was a con man.
Lambert said that Ward abused his privileges by sending thousands of kites, written correspondence, to the judge. The kites contained graphs and strange writings.
The judge asked Ward what he did with the money entrusted to him by the victims. Lambert said it was flat out fraud what Ward did to the victims, who were in financial distress. Ward went on cruises, vacations and built a swimming pool at his home with the money.
Lambert sentenced Ward to 231/2 years in prison.
The fraud charges covered incidents occurring May 9, 2014, and March 28, 2016, in Lake Havasu City where Ward and his company, the Advocacy for Consumer Rights, received more than $3,000 to change the terms of a mortgage to get the victim a promised refund, using a made-up syntax.
The forgery charges stemmed from incidents in March 2016, November 2016 and February 2017 in Kingman and Lake Havasu City. The theft charge covered a May 2014 incident. The charges of preparing false documents for filing were for incidents in March 2016, November 2016 and February 2017 in Kingman.
The recording a false document incidents occurred in March 2016, November 2016 and February 2017 at the county recorder’s office in Kingman.
Ward claimed to be the clerk of the court with the Federal Postal Court, a fictious organization based on sovereign citizens doctrine.
Ward also reportedly faces possible charges in Tennessee, as well as federal charges from the U.S. Department of Justice.