Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ex-Rep. David Rivera's gal pal, Ana Alliegro, in FBI custody over campaign scheme

Ana Alliegro, the gal pal of former U.S. Rep. David Rivera, was arrested in Nicaragua and is being deported to Miami where she's under investigation for her role in a campaign-finance scheme tied to the one-time congressman.

"We received from the American embassy located in our country a request for her to be detained since she is accused in the state of Florida of conspiracy, illegal campaign donations and false statements for which there existed an arrested order against her," Glenda Zavala, general commissioner of the Nicaraguan National Police, told El Nuevo Diario, a newspaper in Nicaragua.

Neighbors of her business, Ana's Euro Salon and Spa, say they saw Nicaraguan authorities take her into custody on Tuesday night. By Friday, the FBI was taking her back to Miami.

Alliegro will be charged with campaign election law violations and related offenses, according to a U.S. law-enforcement source.

Alliegro first fled to Nicaragua in 2012 after the FBI began investigating her and Rivera for their potential roles in a scheme to funnel secret money to a no-name candidate who appeared to do Rivera's campaign dirty work.

That candidate, Justin Lamar Sternad, subsequently pleaded guilty to breaking federal campaign-finance laws and lying about it.

For the first time, in campaign-finance reports he updated in January, Sternad named Alliegro and Rivera as being central to the conspiracy to steer $81,486.15 to his campaign for Congress against fellow Democrat Joe Garcia.

Alliegro and Rivera, who have long denied wrongdoing, couldn't be reached for comment.

The bulk of the illegal money was used to pay for the production and mailing of campaign flyers, at least one of which attacked Garcia over his divorce.

Sternad told the Herald and federal authorities at one point that Alliegro ran his Democratic campaign — an odd position for the self-described Republican "bad girl" who was a close associate of the Republican congressman.

"I later discovered that Ana Alliegro was working with David Rivera," Sternad wrote in an amended campaign-finance report that the Federal Elections Commission posted Jan. 30.

In three separate FEC filings, Sternad repeatedly identified Alliegro and Rivera as playing a role in managing the illegal money.

But during the 2012 Democratic primary, Sternad filed false FEC reports. None disclosed his source of funds.

The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald first reported the suspicious campaign activity in the summer of 2012 after two campaign vendors went on record and said Alliegro and Rivera were behind Sternad's campaign.

The FBI then began investigating. Sternad then pleaded guilty.

Amid the investigation, Garcia won the 2012 Democratic primary and then beat then-Rep. Rivera to win the state's southernmost congressional district, which stretches from the Miami area to Key West.

The investigation into Alliegro and Rivera churned on.

At one point, last year, Alliegro returned to the United States and met with federal authorities. But she quickly left town under mysterious circumstances.

While in Nicaragua, Alliegro was frequently visited by Rivera, who remained in contact with her by email and phone as well, the Miami Herald learned. It was unclear how she could support herself; her father said in a brief email exchange last year with a Herald reporter that he wasn't sending her much money.

Tom Mulvihill, the assistant U.S. attorney in charge of the investigation into her and Rivera, refused to comment on Friday.

"I would never comment one way or the other," he said.

Miami Herald staff writers Patricia Mazzei and Jay Weaver contributed to this report.

Ex-Rep. David Rivera's gal pal, Ana Alliegro, in FBI custody over campaign scheme 03/07/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 7, 2014 7:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. And the most-searched NFL player in Florida is ...


    The Bucs just faced the Jacksonville Jaguars in preseason, and open their 2017 season at the Miami Dolphins. So with the state's NFL competition ahead of and just behind the Bucs, who do you think is the NFL player most searched on Google by Floridians?

    Fans react with excitement moments after the Bucs announce their first-round pick at the team's 2016 NFL draft party. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Video captures shark attack on seal at crowded beach


    ORLEANS, Mass. — A shark attack on a seal at a Cape Cod beach sent beachgoers scrambling, and surfers a few yards away had to frantically swim to shore.

    Thayer Wade captured video of  a shark attacking a seal off a Cape Cod beach. His uncle Pat O'Brien shared the video on Twitter.
  3. Florida firefighter spears giant 409-pound grouper in St. Pete Beach competition


    ST. PETERSBURG — It took six sets of hands to drag a 409-pound Warsaw Grouper to the stage.

    James Taylor, a Bradenton firefighter, speared a 409-pound grouper near St. Pete Beach during a competition over the weekend. (Courtesy of Michelle Taylor)
  4. Don't know what to do with those eclipse glasses? Donate them.

    Human Interest

    Those who were able to snag a pair of coveted solar eclipse glasses for Monday's event witnessed a moment in history. But now that the eclipse is over, many are left wondering: What do I do with my …

    Workers pass out eclipse viewing glasses during a solar eclipse party on August 21, 2017 at the Museum of Science and Industry, in Tampa, Fla. Tampa experienced a partial eclipse. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Times]
  5. Treasury secretary's wife boasts of travel on government plane, touts high fashion


    U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's wife, Louise Linton, boasted of flying on a government plane with her husband to Kentucky on Monday and then named the numerous fashion brands she wore on the trip in an unusual social media post that only became more bizarre minutes later.

    Steven Mnuchin and his then- financee Louise Linton watch as President Donald Trump speaks during Mnuchin's swearing-in ceremony as  treasury secretary in the Oval Office of the White House on Feb. 13. [Mandel Ngan | AFP via Getty Images]