Naugatuck Man Involved in Illegal Campaign Contribution Scheme Sentenced
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 18, 2013|
Deirdre M. Daly, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Harry Raymond Soucy, 61, of Naugatuck, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to three years of probation, the first six months of which Soucy must spend in community confinement (a halfway house), for his role in a scheme to direct illegal contributions into the campaign of a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. Soucy was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in August 2011, the state of Connecticut applied for a court order enjoining Roll Your Own (RYO) smoke shops from continuing to operate without complying with state law governing tobacco manufacturers. RYO smoke shops are retail businesses that sell loose smoking tobacco and cigarette-rolling materials and offer customers the option of paying a “rental” fee to insert the loose tobacco and the rolling materials into a RYO machine, which is capable of rapidly rolling large quantities of cigarettes. Customers did not pay a tax on the RYO cigarettes when rolled by the RYO machines, in contrast to cigarettes purchased over-the-counter.
Fearing that the Connecticut General Assembly would enact legislation harmful to RYO smoke shop owners’ business interests during the 2012 legislative session, certain RYO smoke shop owners and their associates, including Soucy, engaged in a scheme to direct conduit campaign contributions into the campaign of Christopher Donovan, a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. At the time, Donovan was also the speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives. As part of the scheme, the co-conspirators recruited multiple individuals to serve as conduit contributors to the campaign. These individuals permitted checks to be written in their own names to the campaign and were then reimbursed with cash, thereby concealing the fact that RYO smoke shop owners were contributing to the campaign.
In November and December 2011, participants in the scheme made four $2,500 conduit contributions to the Chris Donovan for Congress campaign. On approximately January 31, 2012, the campaign submitted to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) a report of campaign committee’s receipts and disbursements for the period October 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011. The report falsely stated the source and amount of the four $2,500 contributions that were received and deposited by the campaign committee during that time period.
In late March 2012, Soucy was approached by investigators and began cooperating with the investigation. With his assistance, the RYO owners directed an additional $17,500 in conduit contributions to the Donovan for Congress Campaign, as well as a conduit contribution in the amount of $2,500 to a political party.
On July 24, 2012, Soucy waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud deprivation of honest services and one count of conspiracy to make false statements to the FEC and to defraud the United States.
Seven other individuals, including two employees of the Donovan for Congress campaign, have also been convicted of charges stemming from this scheme.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher M. Mattei and Eric J. Glover.