Former Congressional Candidate Arrested On Federal Charges

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A former Democratic congressional candidate was arrested Tuesday for allegedly violating the Federal Election Campaign Act and making false statements, the Department of Justice said.

Abhijit Das, former House of Representatives candidate for Massachusetts in the 2018 election, was charged with multiple counts of campaign finance violations and making false statements, the Department of Justice said.

Das was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday afternoon, and faces a sentence of multiple years in prison for each charge and thousands in fines if convicted, according to the agency.

Das allegedly solicited personal loans from friends and associates above the legal limit around December 2017, the department said.

“Today, we arrested Abhijit Das for allegedly soliciting his friends and family for at least $125,000 in illegal campaign contributions, repeatedly dipping into his campaign coffers to pay outstanding debts related to his hotel business, and falsifying campaign finance reports to try and cover his tracks,” said Joseph Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Boston field office. “We believe Mr. Das engineered this calculated scheme to show he was a viable candidate for office, at the expense of voters and the election process.”

According to the Justice Department, Das allegedly emailed a contributor in December 2017 to ask for donations to complete his fundraising goal of more than $450,000 by the end of the year and said they might need “some engineering” to get to the goal, the agency said. Das allegedly said he would “aggregate” the loans into “one batch” and then transfer it into the campaign account, the Department of Justice said.

Das allegedly concealed the money from the Federal Election Commission by saying the contributions were his funds, and he also reportedly withdrew around $314,000 from his campaign account and used at least $267,000 to pay debts for his business between January 2018 to May 2018, according to the Justice Department.

He allegedly told bank tellers to report the withdrawals as separate withdrawal and deposit transactions, rather than a direct transfer, according to the Department of Justice. (RELATED: Democrat Mayor Lovely Warren, Charged For Alleged Campaign Finance Fraud, Loses Primary)

“Mr. Das allegedly solicited illegal campaign donations, used the money for his own business expenses and debts, and then attempted to conceal his actions,” said United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Nathaniel Mendell. “We are committed to prosecuting this kind of criminal conduct, because doing so protects the election process and vindicates every voter’s right to law-abiding campaigns and transparent elections.”

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