LawFuel – Legal Announcements – A 10-year veteran of the Federal Bureau of Investigation was arrested in Phoenix this morning after being named yesterday in an 18-count indictment that accuses him of having an improper sexual relationship with the wife of a man he investigated in two separate matters.
Joe L. Gordwin, 39, of Phoenix, was taken into custody without incident at the FBI Office in Phoenix. Gordwin is expected to make his initial appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Phoenix.
Gordwin has been placed on administrative leave pending resolution of this matter.
According to the indictment, Gordwin engaged in an “improper intimate relationship” with the wife of a man he was investigating, in violation of federal law and FBI rules. The indictment alleges that he concealed the improper relationship from the FBI to preserve his position at the FBI, and that he also concealed the relationship from the Scottsdale Police Department and the Maricopa County District Attorney’s Office, which were investigating and prosecuting the woman’s husband. Gordwin allegedly sought a favorable plea agreement for his mistress’ husband in connection with a 2005 robbery that Gordwin helped investigate for the purpose of convincing the husband not to disclose Gordwin’s improper relationship with the woman.
The indictment specifically charges Gordwin with six counts of “honest services” wire fraud, five counts of making false statements to the FBI and seven counts of witness tampering. These charges carry a maximum statutory penalty of 285 years in federal prison.
The indictment outlines a scheme to defraud the FBI and the citizens of the United States that began in 2002 after Gordwin arrested a man identified in the indictment as B.M. as part of a gang investigation. After the arrest, Gordwin met B.M.’s wife and allegedly began having an affair with her. In early 2003, after discussing B.M.’s case with B.M.’s wife, Gordwin contacted Maricopa County prosecutors and suggested that an appropriate sentence in B.M.’s case was one year to 18 months in custody. B.M. was subsequently sentenced to 18 months.
Approximately two years later, in early 2005, Gordwin began providing Scottsdale Police with information about B.M., and Gordwin joined an investigation that led to B.M.’s arrest after an armed robbery of a Radio Shack. B.M.’s stepson was also arrested at this time.
In January 2005, Gordwin contacted an FBI confidential information (CI) and asked if he could identify the CI as the source of information given to authorities who were investigating B.M. The indictment alleges that Gordwin did so in an effort to conceal his ongoing relationship with B.M.’s wife, who was the true source of the information about B.M. and his criminal activities.
In the summer of 2005, Gordwin attempted to help his mistress’ son, who also had been arrested in relation to the Radio Shack robbery and was in custody, by using the CI to help find a fugitive, whose arrest the son could take credit for, according to the indictment. At this time, Gordwin allegedly disclosed information about the CI to his mistress and facilitated a meeting between the CI and his mistress. The fugitive was arrested that summer, and Gordwin contacted a Maricopa County prosecutor to discuss a plea deal for the son. In the fall of 2005, the son pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation.
In October 2005, after being rebuffed by prosecutors who did not want to give a favorable plea deal to B.M., Gordwin allegedly became worried that B.M. would disclose Gordwin’s ongoing relationship with B.M.’s former wife. At this point, Gordwin made partial admissions about the relationship to his supervisor. When speaking to his supervisor, Gordwin minimized the extent of the relationship, according to the indictment. Even after being ordered to stop seeing the woman, Gordwin allegedly met with her twice, on both occasions asking her to lie to investigators.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in court.
The case against Gordwin was investigated by the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, which was assigned the matter after the United States Attorney’s Office in Phoenix was recused.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Bayron Gilchrist
Release No. 08-073