Smith indictment filed anew following Superior Court remanding

Laura T. Smith has been indicted on felony charges pertaining to conflict of interest and fraudulent schemes and practices for a second time, after a Superior Court judge remanded her previous Grand Jury case earlier this month.

An indictment dated Jan. 23 includes three counts of fraudulent schemes and practices, and nine counts of conflict of interest.

Laura Smith

Ms. Smith, a former Scottsdale Unified School District chief financial officer, is accused of approving purchase orders and change orders for Professional Group Public Consulting, Inc., also known as PGPC. Both Ms. Smith and her sister had ownership interest in PGPC, according to the AG’s office.

The conduct is alleged to have taken place between February and October 2017.

The new indictment states Ms. Smith is accused of concealing or covering up material fact that her sister owned the Professional Group Public Consulting Inc. in the staff conflict-of-interest document; and knowingly falsified, concealed or covered up a material fact by any trick, scheme or device or made or used any false writing or document knowing such writing or document contains any false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or entry.

On Jan. 14, a Superior Court ruling in a case between the state of Arizona and Ms. Smith, granted the defendant’s motion to remand.

The ruling was provided by the Honorable Frank W. Moskowitz. The motion to remand was filed by Ms. Smith’s attorney, Richard Gaxiola, challenging that the Grand Jury was not presented with clearly exculpatory evidence, Mr. Gaxiola said at that time, describing the Grand Jury was not given a clear picture.

Now, Mr. Gaxiola and his client are a bit surprised by the new indictment, he told the Independent on Jan. 29.

“Yes, we were a bit surprised. However, we remain steadfast in our confidence with respect to the facts and evidence in the case,” he said.

Mr. Gaxiola says he will be obtaining a copy of the indictment and request the new Grand Jury transcript as well in order to conduct an evaluation into the written record and proceeding.

Ms. Smith’s trial proceedings are to begin Feb. 4, according to the Maricopa County Superior Court website.

Northeast Valley News Editor Melissa Rosequist can be e-mailed at mrosequist@newszap.com or can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/mrosequist_.

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