June 6, 1996 in Nation/World

Waldholtz Pleads Guilty To Election, Bank, Tax Fraud

Washington Post

Joseph P. Waldholtz, the former husband of Rep. Enid Greene, R-Utah, apologized Wednesday to everyone but his ex-wife after he pleaded guilty to bank, election and tax fraud in U.S. District Court here.

Wednesday the couple was granted a divorce by a judge in Salt Lake City.

Waldholtz, 33, who was accused last month by a federal grand jury of writing $3 million in worthless checks, apologized to “the good people of Utah” and to Karen Shepherd, the Democratic incumbent Greene defeated in 1994, for “inappropriately influencing the electoral process and the election.”

Describing the past several months as “the most difficult and disturbing time of my life,” Waldholtz said he fully expects to be sent to prison when he is sentenced Sept. 19. Asked whether he had a message or an apology for his wife, he said, “I have none,” and quickly added Greene is “my former wife.”

As part of his guilty plea, Waldholtz has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors William E. Lawler III and Craig Iscoe in their ongoing criminal and civil investigations of his former wife’s campaign finances and the couple’s taxes, according to court papers. Waldholtz hopes to get a break at sentencing. The prosecutors estimate Waldholtz might face 18 months to 24 months in prison. Maximum penalties would be 39 years in prison and more than $1.5 million in fines.

Lawler sidestepped questions about Waldholtz’s credibility, which Greene and her attorneys have attacked at every turn as they blamed him for her financial and political woes. “We can’t evaluate the value of that until we hear (it),” Lawler said.

Waldholtz said he has learned an important lesson: “The ends do not justify the means. And most importantly, always always tell the truth, particularly to the people you love.”

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