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JP Keith Bee indicted in tax case, retires from bench

Pima County Justice of the Peace Keith Bee has been indicted by a federal grand jury on four counts of filing false statements on three years' of tax returns for his business, Bee Line Bus Transportation.

Bee, who has been a JP since 2007, retired Friday without notice; his photo has been removed from the county website.

Tucson defense attorney Michael Piccarreta said Bee, 52, will plead not guilty at his arraignment, which has not yet been scheduled in U.S. District Court.

"Unfortunately, he was the victim of a very shoddy tax preparation and not carefully reviewing voluminous tax returns," Piccarreta said Monday evening. "He, like most people, when given a thick return, just signed it where he was told to sign."

The attorney said everyone who knows Bee knows he's an "honest man who would never intentionally mislead anyone."

Bee, reached Monday evening, declined to comment on the indictment, which has not been made public. However, he said he'd intended to retire by the end of the year, and did not run for re-election this year.

His son, 21-year-old Keith Bee II, lost the GOP primary last month to attorney Doug Taylor, who will face Democrat Alisa Cunningham on the November ballot for the Precinct 5 seat on the bench. Keith Bee II is the CFO of the transportation company, according to reports.

Lisa Royal, court administrator for the Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts, said she did not know about the indictment. She said that on Friday, that Bee announced it would be his last day.

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When asked if the lack of notice was unusual, she said "not necessarily." She did not ask him about his decision.

"It was personal, why would I?" Royal said. She declined to comment on the news of the indictment.

Bee, a Republican, served eight years in the state Senate and two years in the state House of Representatives.

This story was first published by the Green Valley News.

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Bee in an undated handout file photo.