An accountant who acted in the capacity of campaign treasurer for numerous political candidates has been charged with federal mail fraud based on her actions in one such campaign for a state assembly position. She was arrested by the FBI at the offices of her accounting firm.
While the charges currently center on one specific political campaign, federal authorities stated that their investigation is ongoing because the arrestee has served as treasurer for the political fund raising campaigns of hundreds of candidates for elected local, state, and federal office.
One candidate whose campaign funds were handled by the accused accountant stated that he had been informed by authorities that the funds raised, including through the mails, may have been embezzled. Investigators believe that his campaign funds may have lost thousands of dollars.
It is likely that investigators are looking into the accountant's financial records, both with regards to the accounting firm and her private bank accounts. It is unclear how deeply investigators will be looking into other political campaigns which used this accounting firm's services. But if it is suspected that fraudulent transactions occurred in other instances, this accountant may be charged with additional crimes.
Mail fraud is a federal crime involving any effort to illegally obtain funds or valuable property in which the postal system is utilized. Convictions for mail fraud charges can result in prison sentences and hefty fines. These federal charges are serious and prosecutors often aggressively seek conviction.
If you find yourself the target of a federal investigation, it is important to understand what rights you have and what steps you can take to defend against potential charges.
Source: Los Angeles Times: "Campaign treasurer jailed on mail fraud charge," Abby Sewell, Sept.4, 2011