Feds: Republican treasurer embezzled over $500k
06/07/2008 @ 3:41 pm
Federal prosecutors are aiming to block the sale of the home of Christopher J. Ward, former treasurer of the National Republican Congressional Committee, over allegations that he shifted over $500,000 from Senate Republicans into his personal accounts over a four-year period to make mortgage payments and fund remodeling jobs.
According to the Department of Justice and an internal NRCC audit stemming from its accusations against Ward in March, he began embezzling in 2003. $198,841 in particular has been isolated by investigators, $95,000 of which is said to be from the 2006 President's Dinner, to pay for work done on Ward's house. Also diverted, say court documents, was $72,000 to make mortgage payments.
Ward, under investigation by the FBI, has been relieved of his duties with the NRCC but has yet to be charged criminally. Five GOP-connected organizations so far have implicated Ward in the misappropriation of at least $47,000, a far cry from what could have gone missing from the NRCC; an internal audit there suggests a figure of up to $600,000, but that audit is still in progress, said Karen Hanretty, NRCC's communications director.
Ward worked for the NRCC starting in November of 1995, taking on the role of treasurer in 2003. He stepped down in July of 2007 but stayed on as a consultant until January 28, 2008, when it was discovered that he was not auditing NRCC's 2006 finances as previously believed. An internal investigation by Chairman Tom Cole revealed that the last calendar year successfully audited was 2001, with Ward fabricating reports for 2002 through 2006.