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Press Release

Bergen County, New Jersey, Man Gets Probation For Helping Disguise Foreign Contributions During 2012 Presidential Election

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – A Paramus, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to one year of probation for 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, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Bilal Shehu, 48, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo 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. Judge Arleo imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

In September 2012, Shehu, a U.S. citizen living in New Jersey, received approximately $80,000 from a foreign source and provided it to a joint fundraising committee – including the authorized campaign committee of the president – 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 and, in order to attend the event, a foreign national needed to be accompanied by a U.S. citizen.

Shehu admitted that he received the $80,000 wire transfer into his New Jersey-based bank account from a foreign bank account in late September 2012, knowing that he was to provide it to the joint fundraising committee. In early October 2012, Shehu 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 sentencing.

William Argeros, 58, of Tampa, Florida, was also charged in this scheme and pleaded guilty on July 25, 2016. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 14, 2017.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. McCarren of the District of New Jersey’s Special Prosecutions Division and Trial Attorneys Charles Walsh and Peter Halpern of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.

Defense counsel: Alan M. Abramson Esq., New York

Updated February 2, 2017

Public Corruption
Press Release Number: 17-027