- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 14, 2014

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A federal grand jury has indicted a former prosecutor from southwestern Idaho on felony charges of trying to hide assets and obstruct justice in his bankruptcy case.

Former Canyon County prosecutor John Bujak was indicted Tuesday on charges of bankruptcy fraud, money laundering, lying under oath, hiding assets and obstruction of justice, U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson said.

The U.S. attorney’s office said Bujak tried to hide from bankruptcy court officials that he and his wife owned a Rolex watch, and he sold the watch and a ring to an out-of-state jewelry store for $26,000.

The federal prosecutors say they believe Bujak cashed that check at a payday loan store in Caldwell rather than depositing the money in his personal account.

Bujak has not yet entered a plea and could not be reached for comment.

Bujak quit as prosecutor in September 2010 after being accused of diverting money from a $734,000 contract he had struck for the Canyon County prosecutor’s office to handle misdemeanors for Nampa. Bujak maintains it was a legal contract that saved taxpayers money, earned Canyon County lawyers raises and bolstered his personal pay.

A jury in 2012 found Bujak not guilty of misuse of public funds, though he pleaded guilty to a charge of contempt of court. His license to practice law was suspended in 2012 as that court case moved forward, but the Idaho Supreme Court reinstated it last fall.

Bujak also sought bankruptcy protection during the criminal proceedings. It’s that bankruptcy case that is the focus of the grand jury indictment.

The money laundering charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison, obstruction of justice carries a 10 year maximum penalty, and the other charges each have a potential five-year sentence.

The case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation division.

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