Real Estate Executive Pleads Guilty to Making Illegal Campaign Donations
BOSTON—ARTHUR WINN, 72, of Brookline, a Boston-based real estate executive, today pleaded guilty to multiple violations of violating the Federal Election Campaign Act’s prohibitions on making campaign contributions in the names of strawmen or conduits.
WINN faces up to one year in prison, followed by one year of supervised release and a $100,000 fine on each count. He will be sentenced by Chief Magistrate Judge Judith Dein on January 31, 2012, at 10 AM.
On October 28, 2011, Winn Columbus Center Limited Partnership, the real estate development company in which Winn was a partner, entered into a plea agreement in which, if accepted by the court, the company has agreed to pay over $1.5 million in fines. The company will be sentenced on November 30, 2011, before Judge Joseph Tauro.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the government’s evidence would have proven that WINN solicited and made campaign contributions to a wide variety of candidates for elected office with the hope that these elected officials would generally support his companies’ development projects, including Winn Columbus Center Limited Partnership’s development of Columbus Center. Columbus Center was a mixed-use development that was to be built over the Massachusetts Turnpike and, at times, was designed to include a luxury hotel, condominiums, retail stores, and other amenities.
Additionally, evidence would have shown that WINN reimbursed persons for campaign contributions that he requested they make to certain federal, state, and local candidates of his choosing.
In so doing, he concealed the true source of these contributions from the Federal Election Commission and similar state authorities, and, in some cases, avoided the statutory annual limits on the amounts that persons could contribute to candidates for elected office.
Lastly, Winn Columbus Center Limited Partnership, in addition to the illegal contributions caused by ARTHUR WINN, another company executive, Martin Raffol, directed that candidates selected by ARTHUR WINN be solicited for campaign contributions. In particular Raffol was asked to obtain campaign contributions from numerous vendors who performed work for the company for candidates of ARTHUR WINN’s choosing. In response to the increasing demand to solicit these contributions from company vendors, Raffol reimbursed some vendors for the campaign contributions solicited from them. These reimbursements came in, among other forms, payments for inflated or false invoices, including invoices billed to certain publically-subsidized housing communities.
According to the Information, in engaging in this conduct, the true source of these contributions was disguised from the FEC and state authorities, and, in some cases, circumvented the statutory prohibition on corporate contributions.
Raffol pleaded guilty to charges in connection with this conduct in September 2010. He is scheduled to be sentenced on December 8, 2011, by Judge Richard Stearns.
Collectively there were over $150,000 in reimbursed campaign contributions involved in these matters, including illegal contributions to candidates running for the United States House of Representatives, as well as reimbursed campaign contributions to candidates running for state and local office, including candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state senate, House of Representatives, district attorney, mayor of the city of Boston, and Boston City Council.
United States Attorney Ortiz and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Office made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James Dowden of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes.
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