WASHINGTON - A former principal of a wealth management firm pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to causing the Hillary Clinton for President Committee unwittingly to submit false statements to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division. The guilty plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman.
Evan Snapper, 46, of Fairfield, Conn., was charged in a one-count criminal information filed on Dec. 3, 2010, which alleged that he knowingly and willfully caused the committee unwittingly to file materially false reports with the FEC. The information charged that those reports falsely showed that 21 individuals known to Snapper had contributed $2,300 each to the committee when, as Snapper admitted, the contributions had actually been made by one individual.
According to court documents, the individual was a client of the firm where Snapper had served as a principal. In that capacity, Snapper had authorized access to bank accounts associated with the individual. Snapper admitted that in March 2008, he informed the individual that Elton John was scheduled to perform a concert in New York City on April 9, 2008, and that the proceeds from the ticket sales would be contributed to support the committee. Snapper admitted knowing that the individual supported the candidate and that when the individual asked Snapper what could be done to help the committee, Snapper suggested that the individual could find people to buy tickets to the concert. According to court documents, the individual suggested that the individual would call family members and friends and reimburse them for the tickets that they purchased for the concert. Snapper admitted that when this suggestion was made, he knew that reimbursements of political contributions violated campaign finance regulations.
Snapper admitted that he and 20 people agreed to purchase a ticket to the concert, with the understanding that they would be reimbursed by the individual. Snapper admitted having direct or indirect contact with all of these people to coordinate the ticket purchases and reimbursements. Snapper admitted that, believing he was authorized to do so, he caused the 21 reimbursements to be made from the funds of the individual. He admitted that he took steps on his own initiative to conceal the true purpose of the payments as reimbursements for political contributions. These steps included causing some of the reimbursements to be made in amounts that were not multiples of $2,300; to be made in part by check and in part by cash; and to be misrepresented in the individual’s financial account ledgers as payments for purposes other than reimbursements for political contributions. In total, Snapper caused the source of $48,300 in individual contributions to the committee to be falsely reported to the FEC.
In addition, Snapper admitted that in 2007, at the individual’s request, he and his wife made total contributions in the amount of $4,600 and $9,200 to the Jim Gilmore for President Committee and the Gilmore for Senate Committee, respectively. Snapper admitted that, believing he was authorized to do so, he caused reimbursements for those contributions to be made from the individual’s funds. In total, Snapper admitted that he caused the source of $13,800 in individual contributions to the Gilmore Committees unwittingly to be falsely reported to the FEC.
At sentencing, scheduled for Apr. 7, 2011, Snapper faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Daniel A. Petalas and Edward T. Kang of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section. This case is being investigated by the FBI.