Former U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes told staff writer Barbara Barrett this morning that he had no idea that a former staffer in his congressional office had been investigated, charged, convicted and sentenced to extorting his former constituents.
Hayes, a Concord Republican, called this morning to say that he was in a duck blind in Missouri, where he is vacationing, when his cell phone rang today with news of the sentencing.
“Shocked and dismayed,” Hayes said. “I had heard nothing about it.”
Elizabeth Lozada, 43, of Concord was sentenced Monday to two years’ probation of extorting less than $1,000, a federal misdemeanor. She worked as a constituent liaison in Hayes’ Concord office from 2005 to 2008.
According to federal court documents, her responsibilities included helping Spanish-speaking constituents with immigration, Social Security and passport issues. She pled guilty in May to soliciting and accepting payments for the work beyond her authorized salary.
“I knew all the staff very well,” Hayes said this morning. “She was, from my perspective, extremely conscientious, worked very hard and was committed to helping people.”
Hayes said he was never contacted by investigators or prosecutors about the matter.
“It shouldn’t have happened,” Hayes said. “The good, conscientious person she was, makes it even more shocking.”
Hayes said he did not plan to get in touch with Lozada. “I wouldn’t know how to,” he said.