Former Dewhurst Consultant Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud
A former political consultant for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has accepted a plea deal after confessing to stealing nearly $1.8 million in campaign funds.
Kenneth Barfield has agreed to plead guilty to embezzlement, wire fraud, and filing a false tax return in exchange for a federal plea deal. Barfield has confessed to using the stolen funds to pay off personal expenses between 2008 and 2012. According to the plea bargain filed Friday, those expenses included school tuition for his children, mortgage payments, personal investments and other costs of living.
According to a report from the Austin American-Statesman, Barfield submitted false and inflated invoices to a campaign bookkeeper who then issued money to accounts owned by Barfield and his private companies, the Alexander Group and Alexander Group Consulting. Barfield has also admitted to reporting zero taxable income in 2009 when he was legally required to report around $583,000.
Authorities began investigating Barfield in 2012 after $1.3 million went missing from Dewhurst’s campaign. Barfield became a suspect after falsifying documents submitted to the Texas Ethics Commision.
Barfield faces 20 years in prison for the wire fraud charge and between three and five years for the embezzlement and tax cheating.