New Jersey Man Pleads Guilty to Helping Disguise Foreign Contributions during 2012 Presidential Election
A Paramus, New Jersey, man pleaded guilty today to helping to 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, 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.
Bilal Shehu, 48, 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. Sentencing has been scheduled for Oct. 5, 2016.
Pursuant to his plea agreement, Shehu, a U.S. citizen living in New Jersey, admitted that in September 2012, he received approximately $80,000 from a foreign source and 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. Federal law prohibits foreign nationals from making contributions to federal candidates or fundraising committees. In late September 2012, Shehu received an $80,000 wire transfer into his New Jersey-based bank account from a foreign bank account, knowing that he was to provide it to the joint fundraising committee, he admitted. Shehu admitted that in early October 2012, he flew to San Francisco and attempted to gain entry into the San Francisco fundraising event with the foreign national, who was denied entry but was allowed to be photographed with the president.
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 Walsh and Peter 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.