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Former U.S. Congressional Candidate Convicted of Federal Election Campaign Act Violations and False Statements
Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy
District of Massachusetts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 13, 2023
FORMER U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE CONVICTED OF
FEDERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN ACT VIOLATIONS AND FALSE STATEMENTS
Defendant used campaign donations to pay debts for his hotel business
including the hotel’s yacht and real estate taxes
BOSTON – A former candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 3rd Congressional District of Massachusetts was convicted today by a federal jury in Boston of charges of violating the Federal Election Campaign Act and false statements.
Abhijit Das, a/k/a “Beej,” 50, of North Andover, Mass., was convicted of one count of accepting excessive campaign contributions, one count of conduit contributions, one count of conversion of campaign funds, and two counts of making a false statement. U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns scheduled sentencing for Jan. 17, 2024. In June 2021, Das was indicted by a federal grand jury.
“Protecting our elections through campaign finance laws is crucial in defending transparency and accountability in our government and a well-functioning democracy,” said Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy. “Mr. Das illegally solicited and accepted donations, used the money for a different purpose and hid his actions. He lied to the government and to the voters. He abused the campaign finance process and thought he could get away with it. Today’s speedy verdict by the jury after two-weeks of evidence should send a resounding message that the light of justice will always find its way to political candidates who break the law.”
“Today, Abhijit Das was convicted of orchestrating a calculated scheme to blatantly violate federal campaign finance laws to further his candidacy for Congress and his business ventures at the expense of voters and the electoral process,” said Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division. “Mr. Das solicited his friends and family for at least $125,000 in illegal campaign contributions, used that money for his own business expenses, debts, and a 100-foot super yacht, and then lied about it. The FBI will continue pursuing investigations like this one in order to ensure the continued integrity of our electoral process.”
Das was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 3rd Congressional District of Massachusetts in the 2017-2018 election. To inflate his fundraising numbers, Das devised a scheme in or about December 2017 to solicit personal loans from friends and close associates in excess of the $2,700 legal limit. On or about Dec. 17, 2017, Das emailed a contributor asking for a friend to support his campaign to reach a specific fundraising goal of over $450,000 by the end of the year and indicated that reaching that goal might need “some engineering.” Das advised a member of his campaign that he would “aggregate” the loans into “one batch” and execute a main transfer into the campaign account.
Further, Das caused three different individuals to contribute approximately $125,000 to his campaign and structured the contributions as personal loans to a family member to circumvent Federal Election Commission (FEC) reporting requirement and contribution limits. Das falsely claimed that the funds from the excessive contributions were his own personal funds and engaged in illegal conduit contributions to his campaign.
In addition, between January and May 2018, Das withdrew approximately $314,500 in funds from his campaign account and used at least $267,000 of these funds to pay outstanding debts for his hotel business relating to vendors, the hotel’s yacht and real estate taxes unrelated to his congressional campaign. In making these withdrawals, Das sought to conceal his conversion of campaign funds by instructing bank tellers to report the withdrawals as separate withdrawal and deposit transactions, rather than direct transfers.
Das aided and abetted in the submission of false information in quarterly reports to the FEC by overstating the amount of cash-on-hand the Das-for-Congress Campaign had in its campaign bank account. For example, in June 2018, Das reported that his campaign’s total amount of cash-on-hand was approximately $440,000, when in fact the amount of cash-on-hand in the campaign bank account was less than $5,000.
In June 2023, Das was separately indicted by a federal grand jury in Boston on 10 counts of wire fraud, alleging he diverted more than $5 million in escrow funds from his clients’ accounts for personal expenses. Das has pleaded not guilty and has been on release pending trial in that case.
Each of the charges provide for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
Acting U.S. Attorney Levy, FBI Boston SAC Cohen and Harry Chavis, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, Boston Field Office made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Neil J. Gallagher Jr. and Elysa Wan of the Public Corruption & Special Prosecutions Unit are prosecuting the case.