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    United States Attorney's Office
    Central District of California

    Thom Mrozek
    Public Affairs Officer

    (213) 894-6947

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    Release No. 09-017

    February 25, 2009


    LOS ANGELES – A resident of the Dominican Republic was indicted today on federal criminal charges for allegedly making tens of thousands of dollars of illegal campaign contributions to three candidates running for president of the United States and one person running for governor of the state of Florida.

    Ala'a al-Ali, also known as Ala'a Mohy Eddin Elali, 37, was named in a six-count indictment that accuses him of conspiracy, two counts of making illegal “conduit” campaign contributions and three counts of making illegal campaign contributions because he is a foreign national.

    The indictment alleges that Ali was responsible for at least $60,000 in illegal contributions to be made to the three presidential candidates and approximately $5,000 in illegal contributions to be made to the gubernatorial candidate. Ali allegedly conspired with others to recruit Southern California residents to make contributions to the four campaigns with promises that the “contributors” would be reimbursed. Ali allegedly reimbursed the “contributors” with either cash or checks drawn on his person account.

    Ali allegedly violated the Federal Election Campaign Act, which prohibits:

    an individual from making contributions to a person running for federal office that in the aggregate exceeds $2,300;

    an individual from making a contribution in the name of another person (the person in whose name such a contribution is made is known as a "conduit contributor"); and

    a foreign national from making any contributions in connection with a federal, state or local election.

    Ali allegedly violated all three prohibitions.

    “Our elections laws are designed to preserve the integrity of our democratic system,” said United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien. “Fair elections require transparency. Concealing the true nature of campaign contributions deprives voters of potentially crucial information and raises the specter of elected officials being unduly influenced by unknown forces.”

    The six charges in the indictment carry a statutory maximum sentence of 26 years in federal prison.

    An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

    Ali is believed to be in the Dominican Republic.

    The case against Ali is part of an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


    Release No. 9-017
    Return to the 2009 Press Release Index