A Rhode Island lawmaker accused of pocketing a friend's proceeds from a life insurance policy on the friend's dead daughter has been arrested.
State police say Rep. Leo Medina was charged Thursday with misappropriation of funds from a policy check issued last year. They say the Providence Democrat was helping a friend who doesn't speak English cash in on his $31,000 share of a policy on his 32-year-old daughter, who died of heart failure in May 2007 in Chevy Chase, Md.
Police say Medina directed $3,000 to an attorney and kept $28,000.
Medina says he's innocent. He says the charge relates to a simple and non-criminal disagreement over money and "will be gone" in 30 days. He calls it "extortion."
Medina was elected last November. He serves on the House Corporations Committee and the House Veterans' Affairs Committee.
Klepper reported from Providence.