Congressional Candidate Charged With Violation Of The Federal Election Campaign Act
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announced today that Justin Lamar Sternad, 35, was charged with having violated the Federal Election Campaign Act (Election Act) in connection with the 2012 Democratic Party primary election for Florida’s 26th Congressional District.
Defendant Sternad is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia Otazo-Reyes on February 22, 2013 at 2:00 p.m.
The Criminal Information, filed earlier today, charges Sternad with engaging in a conspiracy to make false statements to the Federal Election Commission and to violate the contribution limits of the Federal Election Campaign Act (Count 1); making a false statement (Count 2); and accepting illegal campaign contributions (Count 3). If convicted, Sternad faces a maximum statutory term of imprisonment of up to five years and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer stated, “The Election Act seeks to promote transparency in the campaign process and thereby increase accountability from our elected officials. Sternad, however, violated the Election Act and lied to conceal the true source of funds being used by his campaign. He sought to secretly provide and accept contributions in excess of the limits prescribed by law, using cash and third party checks to conceal the source and amount of contributions made to his campaign. He then compounded his crimes by filing false campaign reports to cover his trail. We are committed to promoting transparency and accountability from our elected officials and from those running for office. Our citizens deserve no less.”
“For citizens to have confidence in their government, they must be certain that their elected officials are fairly elected. We will not tolerate people who violate federal election law,” said Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Miami. “The South Florida community can be assured that public corruption will remain a top priority for the FBI.”
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the agents of the FBI for their hard work in this matter. The case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Thomas J. Mulvihill and Richard C. Pilger of the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.
An Information is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.