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Former Campaign Manager Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Congressional Campaign

WASHINGTON, DC – Jack Thomas, former campaign manager for the Robert Lamutt for Congress Committee (RLCC), pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud before U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina in the District of Columbia today, announced Alice Fisher, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.

The RLCC was a federally-registered fundraising campaign committee, which raised money to support the candidacy of Georgia State Senator Robert Lamutt for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 6th District of Georgia during the 2004 election. In his capacity as campaign manager, Thomas supervised the day-to-day operations of the RLCC, as well as its employees. Furthermore, Thomas was responsible for the RLCC’s finances, including collecting and recording political contributions; depositing the funds in the appropriate bank accounts; and accounting for funds received. Additionally, Thomas was responsible for tracking all disbursements from the RLCC and reporting this information to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), in accordance with its rules and regulations.

In his guilty plea, Thomas admitted that he wrote unauthorized campaign checks to himself, his wife, his brother and others, between September 2003 and February 2004. Thomas admitted to signing all of the unauthorized checks in his capacity as campaign manager. Also, in order to ensure that the bank would honor these checks, he forged the candidate’s signature on most of them. Furthermore, Thomas admitted to secretly obtaining a bank debit card issued in the committee’s name that withdrew funds from the RLCC bank account when he charged personal expenses on the card.

In total, Thomas admittedly stole $40,000 from the committee. These check payments and credit charges were not authorized by the candidate, members of the campaign, or the RLCC. They were concealed and not reported to the FEC on the pertinent forms, which Thomas prepared and mailed from the RLCC office in Atlanta to the FEC in the District of Columbia.

The maximum penalty for mail fraud is 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The defendant’s sentencing is set for Aug. 8, 2006.

This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney James A. Crowell IV of the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division, headed by Section Chief Noel Hillman, and was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Atlanta Division.