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Disgraced Bristol politician faces embezzlement charge

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Rhode Island State Police have an arrest warrant for Laufton Ascencao, the Bristol Democrat who resigned his General Assembly seat last fall before he was even sworn in, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.

State Police Maj. Timothy Sanzi confirmed Ascencao will be charged with embezzlement.

“It pertains to the allegations brought against him when he was working for the Sierra Club,” Sanzi said. “He made some expenditures from the club toward his campaign.”

Sanzi said Ascencao, who was treasurer of the Sierra Club at the time, did not disclose those expenditures in his campaign finance reports with the state Board of Elections. Sanzi said the theft totaled more than $13,000.

Ascencao’s attorney John Grasso said his client was in Maine when he learned of the arrest warrant and is returning to appear in Providence District Court on Thursday.

Voters in Bristol and Warren elected Ascencao, a Democrat, last November to succeed retiring state Rep. Ken Marshall in House District 68. But Ascencao resigned before even taking the oath of office after admitting he forged a campaign invoice.

Democrat June Speakman now holds the seat after winning a special election to replace Ascencao.

Tim White (twhite@wpri.com) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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