RI lawmaker pleads not guilty in embezzlement case

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – A Providence lawmaker has pleaded not guilty to misappropriating funds from a life insurance policy on his friend's dead daughter.

State Rep. Leo Medina was referred to the public defender's office for an attorney during his arraignment on Wednesday. He faces several charges including embezzlement and obtaining more than $500 under false pretenses.
The 47-year-old Medina was arrested by state police last September. He is accused of pocketing $28,000 from a life insurance policy that he was helping his friend cash in.
A police affidavit says Medina told investigators he paid Alejandro Nico $6,200 to $6,400, but used some of the money to pay bills for his struggling business.
Nico's 32-year-old daughter died of heart failure in May 2007. Police say Nico asked Medina for help cashing life insurance checks.