Tampa real estate developer with ties to Vern Buchanan pleads guilty to illegal contributions
A Tampa real estate developer and an accountant with ties to U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan pleaded guilty in federal court today for their roles in illegal contributions to the Republican Party of Florida and Buchanan's campaign, the Department of Justice announced.
Background from the Tampa Bay Times archives is here.
From a news release.
Timothy F. Mobley, 60, pleaded guilty to one count each of making illegal conduit and illegal corporate contributions in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Timothy F. Hohl, 60, of Tampa, Fla., pleaded guilty to three counts of aiding and abetting those illegal contributions. Both defendants entered their guilty pleas before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel B. Toomey.
During his guilty plea hearing, Mobley admitted that from March 2006 through October 2008, he made contributions to the campaign of an individual referred to in court documents as “Federal Elected Official A” that were above the limit established by FECA. Mobley admitted he disguised these contributions by recruiting and providing money to employees of his business entities and to one employee’s family member. He also admitted he used corporate funds to illegally reimburse the conduit contributions, and that he attempted to conceal reimbursements to various employees by characterizing them as legitimate bonus compensation or advances on bonus compensation. Mobley admitted that in all, he reimbursed a total of $10,000 to RPOF and $84,300 in contributions to the campaign of Federal Elected Official A.
During his guilty plea hearing, Hohl admitted that while working as an accountant to Mobley and Mobley’s business entities from 2006 through 2008, he aided and abetted Mobley’s scheme to make the illegal excessive contributions. Hohl admitted he did so by participating in the reimbursement of other individuals, seeking and accepting reimbursement for his own contributions, and seeking and accepting reimbursement for his wife’s contributions.
On the FECA count charging him with making illegal excessive contributions in the amount of $25,000 or more for the calendar year 2008, Mobley faces a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $632,000 fine. On the second FECA count, charging him with making illegal corporate contributions in the amount of $25,000 or more for the calendar year 2008, he faces a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Hohl pleaded guilty to three counts charging him with aiding and abetting Mobley’s reimbursement scheme in 2006, 2007 and 2008, respectively. The maximum potential penalty for each offense is one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys John P. Pearson and Eric G. Olshan of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section. The case was investigated by the Jacksonville and Tampa Field Offices of the FBI. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida provided assistance.
UPDATE: Buchanan's office sent this statement:
"The announcement earlier this month that the Justice Department has cleared Congressman Buchanan of any wrongdoing proves conclusively that Congressman Buchanan and his campaign were totally unaware of any unlawful contributions and had no knowledge of -- or involvement in -- these activities,” said attorney Robert Luskin. “This situation is no different from the recent DOJ cases against donors who unlawfully raised money for Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid, all three of whom were similarly cleared of any knowledge or involvement in those matters."