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Returning prosecutor to lead new Pima County anti-fraud unit

The Pima County Attorney's Office has tapped veteran prosecutor Julia Kaiserman to lead an expanding unit dedicated to fighting fraud, officials announced Tuesday.

Kaiserman spent 12 years as a prosecutor with PCAO before leaving to work for the Arizona Attorney General's office, and she has returned to the county prosecutor's agency to lead an anti-fraud unit.

County Attorney Laura Conover set up the unit shortly after taking office, and tasked them to investigate and prosecute fraud, including wage theft, scams, insurance and bank fraud, environmental, housing, and medical fraud, said C.T. Revere, PCAO spokesman. The office will also teach prevention techniques, including an outreach campaign to raise awareness of fraud to help people "avoid becoming a victim."

Conover created the unit — the first in 20 years — following "widespread concerns" from community members after her election in 2020, Revere said.

Under the leadership of former prosecuting attorney Nicholas Spare, the unit won nearly $1 million in new restitution to victims of fraud by focusing on crime that "often went unaddressed" said Revere. This includes contractor fraud and scams targeting the elderly and medically frail, he said.

"While winning fraud cases can be complex," the unit has been able to link restitution to plea offers, Revere said. This means defendants will face "harsher consequences unless victims recover their losses, leading to the near benchmark amount in victim restitution," he said.

Kaiserman began her career in Pima County in May 2008, and during her tenure here she became on the first prosecutors to work with the Coalition Against Retail Theft, or CART.

"When they first launched CART, I was one of the three area attorneys tracking patterns of retail theft and damage," Kaiserman said. "We would target offenders and put them on the felony radar. At CART where I will soon return, we ensure accountability."

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Kaiserman left in May 2020 to work for Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, and now has statewide and federal immigration experience, giving her the "tools and resources, and the demonstrated ability" to pursue fraud cases. With 38 felony jury trials, primarily in high level property crimes, Kaiserman brings "multi jurisdiction experience," said Revere.

In April, Brnovich credited Kaiserman for the prosecution of three men who were convicted for running what he called an "organized retail theft scheme."

The three men committed a series of "brazen" thefts, using flatbed and shopping carts to steal boxes of ceiling fans from several home improvement stores, the Attorney General's office said. Ultimately, they stole 70 ceiling fans during 28 separate incidents.

"Small theft offends me, and I am happy to be the voice for the people," Kaiserman said. "I am local. My focus is local. I am a lifetime Tucsonan.  My father, my husband, my entire family are all small business owners or employed by them."

"Small business health and wellness is in my blood. I have lived it," she said.

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Tony Gallego

Julia Kaiserman