By Alan Gottlieb
A Tampa, Florida man who helped illegally funnel $80,000 in foreign contributions to the 2012 joint fundraising committee for President Barack Obama pleaded guilty Monday in a Newark, New Jersey federal court, according to the Justice Department.
William Argeros entered the plea before District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo.
Ironically, the Justice Department said he will be sentenced on Wednesday, Nov. 9, the day after this year’s national elections for the next president. Obama leaves office on Jan. 20, 2017.
According to the Justice Department and the website Law Newz, Argeros “knowingly and willfully made foreign contributions and donations, and made a false declaration to a federal grand jury” in the case. Federal law prohibits political contributions to candidates or fundraising committees for federal elections by foreign nationals.
This is the second time in as many months that someone has pleaded guilty to helping funnel foreign money to Obama’s re-election, Law Newz noted. In the earlier case, Bilal Shehu acknowledged receiving money from a foreign source and sending it to Obama’s fundraising committee. Law Newz said Argeros “assisted in having those same contributions sent to Shehu, before Shehu passed them along to the committee.”
A Justice Department news release also noted:
According to his plea agreement, Argeros admitted that in September 2012, he facilitated the transfer of $80,000 from a foreign source to Bilal Shehu, a U.S. citizen residing in New Jersey. Shehu, in turn, provided it to a joint fundraising committee – including the authorized campaign committee of the president – in an effort to disguise the true origin of the money and so that a foreign national could attend a campaign event on Oct. 8, 2012, in San Francisco, according to Argeros’s plea. Argeros also admitted to providing instructions to foreign individuals on how to transfer the money and provide payment to the joint fundraising committee.”
Shehu, a Paramus, N.J. resident, then provided the money to Obama’s joint fundraising committee so that a foreign national could attend a campaign event on Oct. 8, 2012, in San Francisco.
The Justice Department noted in its news release that, “No one on the joint fundraising committee has been accused of any wrongdoing and the committee has fully cooperated in the investigation leading to (the) guilty plea.”