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Posted at 4:48 PM ET, 01/ 3/2011

Man pleads guilty in bundling case

By Spencer S. Hsu

A Connecticut wealth manager pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to making false statements to the Federal Election Commission about "bundling" $48,300 in contributions to the 2008 presidential campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton, and $13,800 to the presidential and Senate campaigns of former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore.

Evan H. Snapper, 46, of Fairfield, Conn., admitted that he falsely reported that 21 straw donors contributed $2,300 each to Clinton, when in fact all donations came from a giver identified only as "Person A" in court documents. That individual was a client of Snapper's at New York financial advisory firm Anchin, Block & Anchin, from which he resigned last month, and the money came from payments made for tickets to an Elton John fundraising concert for Clinton in New York in April 2008.

In court papers, Snapper admitted that, at his client's suggestion, he and 20 people agreed to purchase a ticket to the concert, and that he reimbursed them from his client's accounts.

At the same client's request, Snapper said he and his wife were reimbursed for contributions in 2007 of $4,600 and $9,200 to Gilmore's presidential and Senate campaigns, respectively.

Court papers said the client was a personal friend of Gilmore's but not a Republican, and so did not want to be identified as a donor.

Based on Snapper's cooperation to date, prosecutors with the Justice Department's public integrity section said they expected to recommend probation for Snapper as part of a plea deal, instead of the 10 to 16 months in prison he would face under federal sentencing guidelines. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman of the District, who is not bound by the agreement, set sentencing for April 7.

Neither attorneys nor a spokeswoman for the department, nor Snapper's lawyer, Evan Barr, would comment on whether others might be charged. Barr told the court that the FEC is pursuing civil and administrative proceedings in the matter.

Neither the Clinton nor Gilmore campaigns nor Snapper's employer knew about his actions, authorities have said.

Prosecutors said Snapper did not pose a flight risk, and Friedman released Snapper on his own recognizance, requiring him to report weekly to the court and before traveling outside the country, such as his planned vacation to Mexico in February.

This post has been updated since it was first published.

By Spencer S. Hsu  | January 3, 2011; 4:48 PM ET
Categories:  Around the Nation, Politics, Spencer S. Hsu, Virginia  
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