PARAMUS, N.J. -- A federal judge in Newark sentenced a Paramus man Thursday to a year's probation for illegally funneling $80,000 in campaign contributions to President Obama's re-election committee in 2012.
Bilal Shehu, 48, pleaded guilty in June in exchange for the sentence, telling a U.S. District Court judge that he had the money wired from a foreign source into his New Jersey-based bank account.
He said he then provided it to a joint fundraising committee – including the authorized campaign committee of the president -- so that a foreign national could attend a campaign event on Oct. 8, 2012 in San Francisco.
Federal law prohibits foreign nationals from making contributions to federal candidates or fundraising committees.
In order to attend the event, a foreign national needed to be accompanied by a U.S. citizen.
Shehu flew to San Francisco and tried to get in with the foreign national, who was denied entry but was allowed to be photographed with Obama.
His attorneys issued a statement to Daily Voice following Thursday's sentencing:
"Bill Shehu is an honorable man that made a terrible mistake. He is grateful for the second chance that he has been given and has promised the court that he will prove that he is worthy of this opportunity," Alan Abramson and Eric Breslin wrote.
No one on the joint fundraising committee was accused of any wrongdoing and the committee "has fully cooperated in the investigation leading to today’s sentencing," U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said Thursday afternoon.
William Argeros, 58, of Tampa, FL, also pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme and is scheduled for a Feb. 14 sentencing.
The FBI investigated the case, which was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. McCarren of the District of New Jersey’s Special Prosecutions Division and Trial Attorneys Charles Walsh and Peter Halpern of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.
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