Utah Congresswoman’s Husband Indicted on Bank Fraud Charges
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Federal prosecutors are still investigating the tangled finances of Rep. Enid Greene Waldholtz and her estranged husband, Joseph Waldholtz, after his indictment on bank fraud charges.
The 27-count indictment handed up Thursday by a federal grand jury accused Waldholtz of writing almost $3 million in worthless checks to make it appear there were large balances in two checking accounts owned by the couple.
The accounts actually were in the red, and Waldholtz ended up spending $209,000 the couple did not have, the indictment said.
Prosecutors said Mrs. Waldholtz, R-Utah, is not accused of participating in the scheme, and the indictment did not allege any irregularities in her campaign finances.
However, U.S. Attorney Eric Holder’s office said in a statement, ``Today’s indictment is a product of a broader investigation of financial matters related to Joseph and Enid Waldholtz. The investigation of matters not contained in today’s indictment is continuing.″
Mrs. Waldholtz said Thursday her husband had ``criminally victimized a long line of people who trusted him,″ and she called the indictment ``the first step toward justice in that regard.″
``I equally, and firmly, believe it is the first step toward showing I will be cleared. It shows I was telling the truth on the banking transactions, and I believe it will show the same for the campaign finance transactions,″ she said. ``I am innocent of any wrongdoing.″
Her lawyer, Charles Roistacher, said, ``We expect this matter to be resolved to our complete satisfaction.″
Mrs. Waldholtz, a one-time rising star in the Republican Party, announced in March she will not seek a second term and said she wants to clear her name and ``establish the truth″ about her finances.
She filed for divorce Nov. 14, three days after her husband disappeared as investigators searched for him in connection with the alleged check-kiting scheme and possible illegal financing of her 1994 campaign. He reappeared after six days.
If convicted of defrauding the banks, Waldholtz would face up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Prosecutors also asked that he be forced to forfeit $209,000. He is expected to be arraigned on the charges within 10 days.
Waldholtz has been held in a Pittsburgh jail since March 28 on a contempt-of-court ruling after a judge ordered him to account for $600,000 his relatives suspect him of stealing from his grandmother, Rebecca Levenson.
Levenson’s lawyer, Bill Stang of Pittsburgh, said after the indictment was announced, ``I’m not surprised. ... Joe has some real problems. He’s going to be involved in the judicial process for a long time to come.″
``I think that in the weeks and months to come the truth will come out,″ Waldholtz told Salt Lake television station KTVX. ``That’s all I’ve ever wanted, and I think it’s very important and I think the people of Utah deserve that.″
The indictment accused Waldholtz of using 27 worthless checks totaling $2.96 million in early 1995 to make deposits between the couple’s checking accounts at a congressional credit union in Washington and a bank in Salt Lake City.
By making a new deposit at one institution before the previous deposit at the other one bounced, Waldholtz made it appear that both accounts had large balances, according to the indictment.
At the height of the scheme, the two accounts showed a combined balance of about $752,000 but actually were about $197,000 in the red, the indictment said.
The two institutions discovered the scheme in March 1995 and froze the accounts, the indictment said. Prosecutors said the Utah account was overdrawn by $209,000, and Mrs. Waldholtz’s father, Forrest Greene, covered the overdraft.
Last December, Mrs. Waldholtz in a tearful 4 1/2-hour news conference said her ``teddy bear″ husband had turned out to be a con artist. ``I believe I was tricked,″ she said.
Mrs. Waldholtz has been granted temporary sole custody of the couple’s infant daughter, Elizabeth, pending resolution of the divorce. The Waldholtzes were married in 1993.