3 November 2004 LAWFUEL – Criminal, law, legal, attorney news Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; and Michael S. Clemens, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced today the unsealing of an Indictment returned by a federal grand jury sitting in Miami, Florida, against defendant, Eliseo R. Riera-Gomez, a/k/a “Tito Gomez.” The Indictment arises from the defendant’s alleged misuse of BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc. (BellSouth) funds to finance a public opinion poll for the benefit of a candidate for the United States Senate.
The Indictment charges the defendant with six (6) counts of mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343; two (2) counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341; one (1) count of causing BellSouth to make a contribution in violation of the federal prohibition against disguised contributions made through conduits or strawmen, in violation of Title 2, United States Code, Section 441f; and one (1) count of causing BellSouth to make a contribution in violation of the federal prohibition against corporate contributions, in violation of Title 2, United States Code, Section 441b(a). If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum statutory penalty of twenty (20) years in prison for each mail fraud and wire fraud count, two (2) years in prison for the Section 441f federal campaign finance count; and one (1) year in prison for the Section 441b(a) federal campaign finance count.
Provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, Title 2, United States Code, Sections 441b and 441f, bar corporations from making contributions or expenditures for the benefit of candidates for federal political office. Contributions and expenditures include any direct or indirect donation of anything of value, including the donation of public opinion polls. Contributions made by a source, but donated through or in the name of third parties, are also prohibited.
Specifically, the Indictment alleges that the defendant, beginning as early as in or around March 2003, devised a scheme to defraud and obtain money from BellSouth to finance a public opinion poll by Frederickpolls, Inc. (Frederickpolls), for the benefit of a candidate for the United States Senate. At the time, according to the Indictment, the defendant was the Senior Director of Legislative and External Affairs at BellSouth. The Indictment alleges that the defendant, during March 2003, confirmed to Frederickpolls’ owner that he had agreed to finance through BellSouth a Frederickpolls public opinion poll to be conducted for the benefit of a United States Senate candidate.
According to the Indictment, the defendant, during March 2003, submitted to BellSouth two (2) invoices for payment of $12,500 and $7,500, respectively, to Frederickpolls for payment of the referenced public opinion poll. The invoices were false and misleading in that they concealed from BellSouth the fact that the public opinion poll was being undertaken for the benefit of a United States Senate candidate. The Indictment further alleges that the defendant concealed from BellSouth his disclosure of the poll to a United States Senate candidate.
“We will not tolerate any corruption of our campaign laws and electoral system,” said Mr. Jiménez. “I am proud of the joint efforts of our Office and the FBI in this case.”
Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Karen Rochlin.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls