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Posted at 6:31 PM ET, 01/ 4/2011

Author Cornwell in bundling case

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post editors

Lawyers for Patricia Cornwell confirmed that the best-selling Richmond crime novelist was the client of a Connecticut wealth manager who pleaded guilty Monday to making false statements about "bundling" $48,300 in contributions, using straw donors to the 2008 presidential campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton, and $13,800 to the presidential and Senate campaigns of former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore.

Cornwell and her spouse, Staci Gruber, filed suit in Boston federal court last year accusing Evan H. Snapper and his New York financial advisory firm, Anchin, Bloch & Anchin of mishandling her finances over more than four years, leaving her net worth at the time at less than $10 million, even though she claimed earnings since 2005 of $50 million to $100 million. Snapper and Anchin, Bloch deny the allegations in the pending suit.

In a statement, Cornwell's lawyers with the Ropes & Gray law firm of Boston said that the author "voluntarily cooperated fully with the Department of Justice in its thorough investigation of this incident and is grateful that the matter has been appropriately resolved." They added, "Ms. Cornwell trusted Mr. Snapper to handle all of her financial affairs, including contributions, prudently and lawfully. Regrettably, as this criminal charge confirms, Mr. Snapper abused that trust."

Federal prosecutors said they expect to recommend probation for Snapper, 46, of Fairfield, Conn., who admitted that he falsely reported that 21 straw donors contributed $2,300 each to Clinton, when in fact all donations came from Cornwell, who is identified only as "Person A" in court documents. Snapper admitted that he and 20 people agreed to purchase a ticket to an Elton John fundraising concert for Clinton in New York in April 2008, and that he bellieved he was authorized to reimburse them from Cornwell's accounts.

Snapper said at Cornwell's request, he and his wife also contributed $4,600 and $9,200 in 2007 to Gilmore's presidential and Senate campaigns, respectively, and believed he was authorized to reimburse himself and his wife.

Court papers said Gilmore asked Cornwell, a personal friend, for a contribution, but she is not a Republican and did not want to be identified as a donor.

Snapper is due for sentencing for April 7. Snapper's lawyer, Evan 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.

By Spencer S. Hsu  | January 4, 2011; 6:31 PM ET
Categories:  Spencer S. Hsu  
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