St. Louis, MO –Larry Arnowitz, 66, of St. Louis, Missouri, was sentenced today by United States District Court Judge Steven R. Clark to eighteen months imprisonment after pleading guilty to one count of mail fraud related to his illegal use of campaign funds for his personal use and expenses. The Court ordered Arnowitz to serve twelve months within the Bureau of Prisons, and six months of home confinement following release from prison. Arnowitz was also ordered to make restitution to the victims in the amount of $21,197.85.
According to the Indictment and Plea Agreement, Arnowitz served as the Alderman for the 12th Ward of the City of St. Louis, having first been elected during 2011. Arnowitz maintained his political campaign account under the name “Friends of Larry Arnowitz.” Numerous individuals and organizations contributed to the Friends of Larry Arnowitz based upon representations that their political donations would be properly and legally used for campaign and reelection purposes. From June, 2015 through February, 2019, Arnowitz instead used donated campaign funds for personal expenses, unrelated to any legitimate campaign or reelection purpose. Arnowitz used funds from the Friends of Larry Arnowitz campaign account to make payments towards his personal residential mortgage and for other personal expenses, and he made substantial cash withdrawals from the account for his own personal use and expenses.
Further, during 2018 and 2019, Arnowitz held fundraising events at the Sugar Creek Golf Course, where participating players donated funds to the “Friends of Larry Arnowitz” campaign committee, either by check or cash. Following those fundraising events, Arnowitz failed to deposit any cash donations and one or more checks into his campaign committee account, spending those donated proceeds instead on personal expenses unrelated to any legitimate campaign or reelection purpose.
In order to conceal his fraud, Arnowitz filed false reports with the Missouri Ethics Commission, which reports failed to identify the many cash withdrawals from the Friends of Larry Arnowitz campaign account, and which failed to identify payments made directly from the Friends of Larry Arnowitz campaign account which were made for his own personal use, unrelated to any campaign or reelection purpose. As one example, on February 13, 2019, Arnowitz withdrew $5,000 from his Friends of Larry Arnowitz campaign account in the form of a cashier’s check, which he then mailed to Ocwen Financial Services in partial payment of his personal residential mortgage.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.