Former Congressional Staffer Sentenced to Prison for Extensive Fraud and Election Crimes Scheme
HOUSTON - A former congressional staffer was sentenced today for participating in a multi-year scheme to defraud charitable donors of hundreds of thousands of dollars. He also secretly funneled the proceeds to pay for personal expenses and illegally finance campaigns for federal office.
U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick made the announcement along with Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Assistant Director in Charge Nancy McNamara of FBI’s Washington Field Office and Acting Special Agent in Charge Sarah Kull of IRS - Criminal Investigation (CI) Houston Field Office.
Jason T. Posey, 48, of Tupelo, Mississippi, pleaded guilty Oct. 11, 2017, to one count of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. Today, Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal of the Southern District of Texas sentenced Posey to 18 months in prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. Posey was also ordered to pay $564,718.65 in restitution and $156,855.29 in forfeiture.
As part of his plea, Posey admitted he participated in a scheme that former U.S. Representative Stephen E. Stockman, 62, led. A federal jury in Houston convicted Stockman April 12, 2018, of 23 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to make conduit contributions and false statements to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), making false statements to the FEC, making excessive coordinated campaign contributions, money laundering and filing a false tax return. Another of Stockman’s former congressional staffers, Thomas Dodd, 40, of Houston, pleaded guilty March 20, 2017, to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to make conduit contributions and false statements. On Dec. 12, 2018, Judge Rosenthal sentenced Dodd to serve 18 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $800,000 in restitution,
According to Posey’s admissions in connection with his guilty plea, from January 2013 to February 2014, he assisted Stockman in fraudulently soliciting $800,571.65 in donations from charitable organizations and the individuals who ran those organizations based on false pretenses. He then used a series of sham nonprofit organizations and dozens of bank accounts to launder the money before he spent it on a variety of personal and campaign expenses.
Specifically, Posey admitted that shortly after Stockman took office as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013, Stockman and Dodd used the name of one sham nonprofit entity, Life Without Limits, to solicit and receive a $350,000 charitable donation. The money was to be used to create an educational center called the Freedom House. Stockman, Dodd and Posey instead used this donation for a variety of personal and campaign expenses, including illegal conduit campaign contributions, and payments for hundreds of thousands of robocalls and mailings promoting Stockman’s candidacy for U.S. Senate in early 2014.
In addition, Posey admitted that, in connection with Stockman’s Senate campaign, Stockman and Posey used another sham nonprofit entity called Center for the American Future to secure a $450,571.65 donation. They used that money to fund a purportedly legitimate independent expenditure promoting Stockman’s candidacy. Posey admitted Stockman secretly controlled the purportedly independent expenditure and directed his campaign and Posey to file false affidavits with the FEC covering up Stockman’s involvement.
In addition, Posey admitted that during the early stages of the investigation, Stockman directed Posey to flee to Cairo, Egypt, for nearly three years so law enforcement could not question him.
The FBI and IRS-CI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Annis is prosecuting the case along with Deputy Chief Robert J. Heberle and Trial Attorney Ryan J. Ellersick of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.