State Charges Inland Empire Fundraisers With Felony Campaign Money Laundering
RIVERSIDE--California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. and Riverside District Attorney Rod Pacheco today announced a 37-count indictment against Mark Anthony Leggio, James Lloyd Deremiah, and father-son team Nicola Cacucciolo, and Nick Vito Cacucciolo, for exceeding $3,300 Senate and Assembly campaign contribution limits by laundering money through various friends and associates.
“Leggio contributed $50,000 in excess of campaign contribution limits to six candidates for Senate, Assembly and Board of Equalization by filtering money through friends and associates,” Attorney General Brown said. “Today’s charges send a strong message that the state will crack down on those who try to exceed California’s campaign finance limits.”
In November 2006, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office launched an investigation into possible campaign money laundering, in violation of Government Code Section 84301, in a Riverside County State Assembly race for the 65th District. The timing and pattern of campaign contributions suggested that various individuals were being reimbursed for contributing to Leggio’s candidate of choice, in violation of the Political Reform Act.
“Democracy is the foundation of our society. The process by which we citizens elect our leaders and representatives must be honest and free from all corruption. Money laundering in elections hides a candidate’s true support. When it is of this significant magnitude a fraud is perpetrated on the public,” Riverside District Attorney Rod Pachecho said.
Investigators found that Leggio funneled money through various friends and employees of the Mark Christopher Auto Center in Ontario and Mountain View Chevrolet in Upland. Nicola Cacucciolo and his son Nick Vito Cacucciolo assisted with the illegal campaign donation scheme, as did James Llloyd Deremiah.
The alleged fraud involved contributions to six state campaigns for Senate, Assembly and Board of Equalization in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. The prosecutor from the Riverside District Attorney’s Office, who launched the original investigation, was granted the status of Deputy Attorney General which allows him to prosecute violations in other counties.
The accusations in today’s indictment include: 11 felony counts of perjury, filing false statements, conspiracy, and 26 misdemeanor violations of campaign contribution limit and reporting laws. The indictment was unsealed in San Bernardino Superior Court and the arraignment is scheduled for July 11, 2008. If convicted of the most serious charges, Leggio faces up to 6 years in state prison and the other defendants face up to 3 years.
The indictment, which was filed under seal on June 11, 2008 and made public today, is attached.
In 20 days, a full California State Grand Jury transcript including all other findings in this case will be made public. Until that transcript is unsealed, no additional details of this case can be released.
For more information, please contact Michael Jeandron at the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office: (916) 955-9215