Florida Man Admits Helping Disguise Foreign Contribution During 2012 Presidential Election, Lying To Grand Jury
Monday, July 25, 2016
NEWARK, N.J. – A Tampa, Florida, man pleaded guilty today to 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 and lying about it to a federal grand jury, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman and Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced.
William Argeros, 57, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark federal court 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. Argeros also pleaded guilty to knowingly making a false declaration before a federal grand jury concerning his role in facilitating and concealing the foreign contribution.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Argeros admitted that in September 2012, he facilitated the transfer of $80,000 from a foreign source to Bilal Shehu, a U.S. citizen residing in New Jersey, who, in turn, provided it to a joint fundraising committee – including the authorized campaign committee of the president – in an effort 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. Argeros also admitted to providing instructions to foreign individuals on how to transfer the money and provide payment to the joint fundraising committee.
In addition, Argeors admitted providing false testimony before a grand jury sitting in the District of New Jersey. On Feb. 18, 2015, Argeros falsely testified under oath that he did not participate in arranging the transfer of money to the joint fundraising committee.
Federal law prohibits foreign nationals from making contributions to federal candidates or fundraising committees. Shehu pleaded guilty to the same charge on June 29, 2016.
Both charges to which Argeros pleaded guilty carry a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 9, 2016.
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 guilty plea.
U.S. Attorney Fishman and Assistant Attorney General Caldwell 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 plea. 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: John A. Azzarello Esq.