KANSAS CITY, KAN. A Leawood man pleaded guilty Friday to helping a former congressional candidate fraudulently obtain a mortgage.
John D. Myers, 49, had originally said he was innocent of a single count of wire fraud in the case of co-defendant Adam Taff, but he changed his plea and entered an agreement with the government.
"Mr. Myers was assisting a friend," said defense attorney J.R. Hobbs. "It was bad judgment."
Hobbs said there had been no discussion of Myers possibly testifying against Taff, a moderate Republican who narrowly lost last year's primary for the GOP nomination in the 3rd District to conservative Kris Kobach. Taff was the Republican nominee two years earlier but lost to Democratic Rep. Dennis Moore.
The defendant appeared in court but offered little more than short replies to U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum's questions, including his plea.
"Guilty, your honor," Myers said.
Myers founded National Mortgage Co. and signed a contract two years ago to sell his Lake Quivira home to Taff for $1.2 million. According to the indictment, Taff obtained a $300,000 bank check from campaign funds and, along with Myers, misrepresented the money as a down payment on the house to help the candidate get mortgage approval.
Taff eventually returned the funds to his campaign accounts, the indictment says. He has pleaded not guilty to violating the Federal Election Campaign Act and to wire fraud.
Hobbs said he hoped the plea would help his client avoid prison; the charge carries a term of up to 30 years. The agreement says Myers will pay a $50,000 fine, pending the judge's approval.
Sentencing was set for Feb. 6.