WASHINGTON - A Natick, Mass., man was charged today in federal court in Boston with engaging in a scheme to conceal from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and from the public illegal campaign contributions made to federal campaign committees, and with witness tampering, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz for the District of Massachusetts; and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in New England. Martin Raffol, 54, was charged today in a two-count criminal information with one count of engaging in a scheme to conceal material information from a federal agency and with witness tampering.
According to the court document, Raffol served as executive vice-president for a company that provided management services to a portfolio of real estate holdings, including several publically-subsidized housing communities in the Dorchester and Roxbury neighborhoods of Boston. Executives from the company and its parent company actively solicited campaign contributions from various individuals and entities for candidates running for federal, state and local office throughout the years, as part of its business. According to the court document, these executives did so primarily to advance the business interests of the company, including obtaining support for public financing of a large-scale development project within the city of Boston.
As part of an effort to increase the amount of campaign contributions to candidates who supported the company’s projects or who might support these projects in the future, executives and senior management allegedly directed Raffol to solicit campaign contributions from vendors who regularly did work for the company
Raffol in turn allegedly engaged in an ongoing scheme whereby he caused these vendors to be reimbursed for substantial campaign contributions solicited from them. This included vendors who provided general contracting services, energy services and security services. As a result of Raffol’s alleged scheme, the true source of these vendors’ campaign contributions was disguised from the FEC, similar state authorities, campaign committees, and ultimately, the public. In total, Raffol caused more than $12,000 in illegal campaign contributions to be made to candidates running for federal office, including candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives. He also caused more than $30,000 in illegal contributions to be made to candidates running for state and local office, including candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of the commonwealth, state senate, state house of representatives, district attorney, mayor of the city of Boston and Boston City Council. This alleged scheme caused numerous reports, which falsely indicated the source of these contributions, to be unwittingly filed by the relevant political committees with the FEC and similar authorities. There is no evidence that the federal campaign committees had knowledge of Raffol’s alleged reimbursement scheme.
The court document also alleges that Raffol engaged in witness tampering to conceal the illegal campaign contribution scheme and to prevent law enforcement from learning of the scheme. Specifically, Raffol allegedly instructed a witness to lie to authorities if they questioned him about the alleged campaign contribution scheme.
If convicted on these charges, Raffol faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the false statement charge, and 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the witness tampering charge.
The case was investigated by the FBI. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Dowden of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts and Senior Litigation Counsel William M. Welch II of the Criminal Division.
The details contained in the information are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.