Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Helping Disguise Foreign Contribution during 2012 Presidential Election and Making False Declaration before Grand Jury
A Tampa, Florida, man pleaded guilty today to helping funnel $80,000 in campaign contributions from a foreign source to the joint fundraising committee of the President of the United States during the 2012 presidential election and to making a false declaration before the grand jury, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman of the District of New Jersey.
William Argeros, 57, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo of the District of New Jersey to an information charging him with knowingly and willfully making foreign contributions and donations in connection with the 2012 presidential election and to a fundraising and political campaign committee of the president, aggregating $25,000 or more during a calendar year, and to knowingly making a false declaration before the grand jury concerning his role in facilitating and concealing the foreign contribution. Sentencing has been scheduled for Nov. 9, 2016, before Judge Arleo.
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. Federal law prohibits foreign nationals from making contributions to federal candidates or fundraising committees.
Argeros also admitted that on Feb. 18, 2015, he falsely testified under oath that he did not participate in arranging the transfer of money to the joint fundraising committee before a grand jury in the District of New Jersey.
On June 29, 2016, Shehu pleaded guilty to helping to funnel $80,000 in campaign contributions from a foreign source to the joint fundraising committee.
No one on the joint fundraising committee has been accused of any wrongdoing and the committee has fully cooperated in the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The FBI investigated the case. Trial Attorneys Charles R. Walsh and Peter N. Halpern of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. McCarren of the District of New Jersey’s Special Prosecutions Division are prosecuting the case.