Wolcott Man Admits Role in Illegal Campaign Contribution Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 20, 2013|
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut announced that Daniel Monteiro, 33, of Wolcott, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to a federal conspiracy charge stemming from a scheme to direct illegal campaign contributions into the campaign of a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives.
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, Paul Rogers, who owned a RYO smoke shop with two locations in Waterbury, Harry Raymond “Ray” Soucy, David Moffa, and others engaged in a scheme to direct conduit campaign contributions into the campaign of a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. The candidate was also a member of the Connecticut General Assembly. 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 Rogers and other conspirators reimbursed them with cash, thereby concealing the fact that RYO smoke shop owners were contributing to the campaign.
In November and December 2011, the conspirators made four $2,500 conduit contributions to the Campaign. Monteiro, a Waterbury business owner, was aware of the purpose of the contributions and that the contributions were being made in the names of others.
On approximately January 31, 2012, the Campaign Committee submitted to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) a report of the 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 the spring of 2012, the conspirators made additional illegal campaign contributions totaling $17,500. Monteiro provided one check in exchange for $2,500 in cash, and two of Monteiro’s employees provided $2,500 checks in exchange for reimbursement.
Monteiro pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to make false statements to the FEC and to impede the FEC’s enforcement of federal campaign finance laws. Judge Arterton has scheduled sentencing for June 12, 2013, at which time Monteiro faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Rogers, Soucy and Moffa have also pleaded guilty to charges related to this scheme and await sentencing.
As to the four other individuals who have been charged as a result of this investigation, U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher M. Mattei and Eric J. Glover.