Sacramento, California - Babulal Bera, 83, of La Palma, pleaded guilty Tuesday to making excessive campaign contributions and making campaign contributions in the name of another.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert made the announcement.
The charges were filed in the District Court in Sacramento on Monday. Earlier today, Bera was arraigned and pleaded guilty to both counts before United States District Judge Troy L. Nunley.
According to court documents, in 2010 and 2012, Bera’s son was a candidate for a seat in the United States Congress representing District 3 (2010) and District 7 (2012) from the state of California. With respect to both elections, the candidate’s official federal campaign committee was headquartered in Elk Grove. With respect to both elections, the defendant made the maximum allowable individual contributions to his son’s campaign, and he also solicited friends, family members and acquaintances to make contributions, which he then reimbursed with his own funds. Bera did this to make contributions to his son’s campaign in excess of the contribution limits established by federal law. With respect to the 2010 and 2012 elections, the government has identified over 130 improper campaign contributions involving approximately 90 contributors. To date, the government has identified over $220,000 in reimbursed contributions relating to the 2010 campaign, and over $40,000 in reimbursed contributions relating to the 2012 campaign.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys John Vincent and Philip Ferrari, and Department of Justice Public Integrity Section Trial Attorney Richard Evans are prosecuting the case.
Bera, who was ordered released on his own recognizance, is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Nunley on August 4, 2016. Bera faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison on each count. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.