Consultant gets prison in San Diego election funding scandal
Posted September 1
SAN DIEGO — A political consultant was sentenced to 15 months in prison and fined $10,000 for participating in a scheme to funnel more than $600,000 in illegal foreign campaign contributions to candidates in San Diego's 2012 mayoral race, the U.S. attorney's office said.
Former ElectionMall Technologies CEO Ravneet Singh, 45, of Naperville, Illinois, was ordered Thursday to report to prison Oct. 12.
Last year, a jury convicted Singh, Mexican citizen Jose Susumo Azano Matsura and Azano's son, Edward Susumo, on felony counts involving illegal contributions to the mayoral campaigns of then-District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, a Republican, and Bob Filner, a Democrat who is a former a congressman.
Prosecutors say Azano, 52, was seeking to buy political influence, including support for a San Diego waterfront development that would have included a yacht marina, hotel and luxury condominiums.
Filner won the election, but resigned within nine months amid sexual harassment allegations.
Neither candidate was charged in connection with the illegal contributions.
Dumanis testified that she thought Azano — who lives near San Diego in the city of Coronado — was a legal resident but she said she had little memory of their interaction. She left office last month after announcing in April that she would resign and consider a run for a seat on the county Board of Supervisors.
According to the U.S. attorney's office, Azano's status as a foreign national made campaign contributions illegal so he conspired to conceal the connection by funneling money and in-kind consulting services by Singh through corporate and third-party straw donors.
Azano faces a Sept. 5 retrial on a firearms charge that the original jury could not decide and he is then scheduled for sentencing on Oct. 23, followed by Hester, 25, on Nov. 6. A San Diego lobbyist also faces a retrial on undecided charges.