Executive Director Pleads Guilty to Illegal Campaign Contributions

Executive Director Pleads Guilty to Illegal Campaign Contributions

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Executive Director Pleads Guilty to Illegal Campaign Contributions

On October 1, 2012, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey announced that Thomas J. O’Leary was sentenced to 30 months in prison for illegally funneling campaign contributions to Joseph Vas who ran for Congress in 2006.  O’Leary, the former executive director of the South Amboy Housing Authority, also pleaded guilty to tax evasion.  

During the indictment, O’Leary admitted to participating in a scheme with Francis X. Gartland who was an insurance broker in Towson, Maryland.  The plan was to use “conduit” contributors to make contributions to Vas for the 13th Congressional District.  Gartland was the insurance broker for the city of Perth Amboy as well as the Perth Amboy Board of Education.  The FBI reports that Gartland received large amounts of money in commissions and split the commissions with O’Leary.  

By electing Vas, who was currently the mayor of Perth Amboy, Gartland would have maintained his insurance brokerage with the city and Board of Education.  In order to try and elect Vas, O’Leary admitted that his recruited a total of 5 contributors who each donated $2,000 to the federal campaign committee for Vas.  O’Leary would then reimburse the contributors with funds in the form of cash or check from Gartland.  

Conduit contributions are specifically prohibited by the Federal Election Campaign Act.  For his actions, Vas received 78 months in prison and was ordered to pay $90,000 in restitution to Perth Amboy along with a $73,200 fine.  Gartland was also charged in a superseding indictment with Michal J. Ritacco with 27 counts of bribery and tax fraud.  

In addition to their sentences, Vas and O’Leary will have to serve 3 years of supervised release once released from prison.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee M. Cortes is representing the government in this case.

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

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