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Former Mistress of Cisneros Is Indicted in Texas

September 13, 1997| From Associated Press

LUBBOCK, Texas — The former mistress of ex-Housing Secretary Henry G. Cisneros was indicted Friday on charges that she took part in a money-laundering scheme and misled a grand jury and federal agencies.

Linda Jones, 48, was indicted on 26 counts of conspiracy, bank fraud, money laundering and obstruction of a special counsel's investigation

Her sister, Patsy J. Wooten, 55, and brother-in-law, Allen R. Wooten, 58, were indicted on the same charges, except for eight obstruction counts that name only Jones.

Cisneros, who was not named in the indictment, is the subject of an independent counsel investigation into allegations that he lied to the FBI during a background check about payments he made to Jones.

The Wootens are accused of acting as "straw purchasers" when they obtained a loan and bought a Lubbock house in early 1993 for Jones. The Wootens lied to Plains National Bank of Lubbock by claiming they were going to live in the home, prosecutors charge.

By 1995, Jones had become unable to keep up with mortgage payments after Cisneros and others stopped providing money, the indictment says. Jones subsequently sold the house at a profit, then moved in with her mother.

U.S. Atty. Gen. Janet Reno has concluded that Cisneros paid Jones between $48,000 and $60,000 annually from 1990 to 1993.

During a background check, Cisneros had told the FBI that the amounts were much lower, spurring Reno to initiate the investigation by independent counsel David M. Barrett in March 1995.

Ed Page, an attorney on Barrett's staff, announced the indictment Friday but declined to answer questions.

Cisneros declined to comment. Attempts to contact Jones and the Wootens were unsuccessful Friday.

Jones, who was known as Linda Medlar until she went back to her maiden name, also is accused of misleading the grand jury by lying about whether she had provided original tape-recordings of conversations she had with Cisneros and others.

The final charge alleges that Jones lied to the IRS about whether the taped conversations were copies or originals.

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