Father receives year in prison for illegal campaign donations
August 18, 2016
An 83-year-old La Palma man was sentenced today to 12 months and a day in prison for making illegal campaign contributions to his son’s bid for U.S. Congress, according to acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert.
In 2010 and 2012, Babulal Bera’s son Amerish Babulal was a candidate for U.S. Congress. During both elections, the defendant made the maximum allowable individual contributions to his son’s campaign of $2,500. He then solicited friends, family members and acquaintances to make contributions, which he reimbursed with his own funds in violation of campaign finance laws.
Amerish Babulal, a Democrat, won the 2012 election for U.S. Congress District 7 in California and also reelection in 2014.
During the 2010 and 2012 elections, Babulal Bera facilitated 130 improper campaign contributions totaling over $260,000 and involving approximately 90 contributors living in multiple states, according to court documents,
“Mr. Babulal Bera knew the law when it came to campaign contributions, but he tried to beat the system using straw donors,” said Monica Miller, special agent in charge of the FBI Sacramento field office.
Because of Babulal Bera’s advanced age and associated health issues, the court imposed the sentence recommended by prosecutors.
Nevertheless, the court said the defendant’s conduct was “calculated,” and “cuts to the heart of the integrity we expect of elections.”
“The District Court gave thorough and thoughtful consideration to the arguments of both parties in imposing sentence,” said U.S. Attorney Talbert. “That sentence, which is significant given this defendant’s age, sends a clear message that campaign finance crimes are serious offenses that will result in real consequences.”
This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys John K. Vincent and Philip A. Ferrari, and Department of Justice Public Integrity Section Trial Attorney Richard Evans prosecuted the case.