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Ex-Kansas legislator pleads not guilty to COVID relief fraud

(AP) — Former Kansas state Rep. Michael Capps has pleaded not guilty to 19 counts that allege he tried to defraud federal, state and county government organizations out of more than $450,000 in coronavirus relief funding. 

A Wichita newspaper reports that Capps entered the plea Wednesday via video conference from his lawyer’s office during his arraignment hearing. 

The Wichita Republican also agreed to surrender his passport while he awaits trial. 

Federal prosecutors have said Capps filed forms inflating the number of employees he had at two businesses and a sports foundation, and then applied for loans to pay the non-existent employees. 

Capps is charged with multiple counts of making a false statement, bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

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