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Florida: Orlando senator charged with campaign funds misuse

The Miami Herald reports: Orlando state Sen. Gary Siplin, who left Miami seven years ago with a trail of bad debt and a history of close ties to county politicians, was charged this morning with fraudulently using his legislative staff to run his 2004 election campaign.

Siplin, 51, a Democrat who spent the 1990s promoting black professionals in Miami and serving as a bond lawyer for county financial deals, was charged with one felony and one misdemeanor alleging he forced three of his former Senate staffers to do campaign work.

"This case centers on a person in a position of trust utilizing approximately three months of labor, funded with taxpayer dollars, for his personal political campaign - not for the job a state employee was being paid to do," said Orange County State Attorney Lawson Lamar said. "That amounts to grand larceny from the people of Florida."

A warrant was issued for Siplin's arrest this morning. He could not be reached for comment. -- Bradenton Herald | 04/11/2006 | State senator arrested on campaign fraud charges

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