Auditor Troy Kelley 'very confident' in his innocence
SEATTLE -- A grand jury has indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley on 10 counts Thursday, including filing false tax returns, obstruction and possession of stolen property.
The grand jury returned the indictment Wednesday and it was unsealed Thursday. Kelley is scheduled to appear at U.S. District Court in Tacoma at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
RELATED: Read the full indictment
RELATED: Read full Troy Kelley statement
Kelley held a news conference Thursday afternoon in Tacoma, saying, "I believe this indictment has no merit whatsoever." He also countered a number of the charges brought against him in the indictment.
He did say that he will take a "temporary leave of absence" starting May 1.
"I'm very confident I'll be able to prove my innocence and I eagerly look forward to doing that in an open court of law," Kelley said.
His attorneys also spoke at the news conference, claiming that a case like the one brought against Kelley is usually resolved in civil court.
Attorney Mark Bartlett said that the Department of Justice "has wasted millions of dollars and thousands of hours" in pursuing Kelley.
Speculation has been swirling around Kelley, a Democrat elected in 2012, since federal agents searched his home last month. Kelley has insisted he did nothing wrong.
Governor Jay Inslee and other state leaders called for Kelley to resign immediately following the indictment.
According to the release from U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes most "of the criminal conduct detailed in the indictment span years prior to Kelley's election to state office."
From 2003 to 2008, Kelley operated a business that received payments from title companies to track documents related to home sales and refinancing, according to the indictment.
While title companies withheld $100-$150 for the services provided by Kelley for each loan, the majority should have been returned to the borrower and Kelley's company retained $15-20 per transaction. Instead, the indictment alleges, Kelley's company often kept the full amount.
Kelley also allegedly obstructed litigation related to those fees by repeatedly lying in declarations and under oath in depositions.
The state auditor denied the charges against him, saying that his business practices were "in line with industry practices" and that he filed "annual tax returns with the IRS...disclosing funds that appear to be the central part of the government case."
The IRS Criminal Investigation and the FBI investigated the case against Kelley.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.