Real Estate Developer Convicted of Making Illegal Contributions to Swalwell Campaigns

Press Release

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OAKLAND – A federal jury found Oakland area real estate developer James Tong guilty for funneling tens of thousands of dollars through straw donors into two consecutive congressional campaigns for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson, Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett of the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office. The verdict came down today after an 8-day trial before the Hon. Jon S. Tigar, United States District Judge.

Tong, 74, of Fremont, Calif., was found guilty of two counts of making contributions to a federal campaign in the name of other individuals. According to the evidence presented at trial, in 2012 and 2013 Tong used two primary straw donors as recruiters for his scheme. Tong gave thousands of dollars in cash to his chosen middlemen and instructed them to recruit straw donors to write checks to a candidate who was running for office in the U.S. House of Representatives. Tong induced the individuals to distribute cash in the community to be donated to the initial and reelection campaigns of the candidate. The network of straw donors included dozens of conduits who agreed to write checks in exchange for a commensurate amount of cash sourced from Tong. Tong provided envelopes of cash to the two intermediaries and directed them to reimburse individuals for their contributions. Tong also directed an intermediary to conceal the scheme by instructing the conduits not to deposit the cash and later directed the intermediary to withhold information from the FBI after he was interviewed.

Evidence at trial demonstrated that members of the campaign, including the candidate, were unaware of the defendant’s illegal contribution scheme.

On August 31, 2017, a federal grand jury indicted Tong charging him with two counts of making and causing campaign contributions in the name of another, in violation of 52 U.S.C. §§ 30122 and 30109(d)(1)(D). The jury found Tong guilty of both counts.

Judge Tigar scheduled Tong’s sentencing for Dec. 13. Tong faces a maximum statutory penalty of two years in prison and 1000% of the amount involved in the violation for each count.

The FBI conducted the investigation. Trial Attorneys Amanda R. Vaughn and Rebecca G. Ross of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney S. Waqar Hasib of the Northern District of California prosecuted the case.

Editors Note:
The total amounted to $38,000 in both 2012 and 2014 which evaded the federal donation limit which at the time were $2,500 per donation and $2,600.

 


10 COMMENTS

  1. Swalwell is bad for the people. He always has been. It’s now eye opening to see he is a crook too. No wonder he wants to take away our 2nd amendment. Such a hack. Drain the swamp, vote him out.

    • “Drain the swamp”. It’s like when pastors preach about the evils of homosexuality. Usually the one pointing the finger is the one doing the mess. Trump’s lineage IS the swamp. America is corrupted by oligarchs like him.

  2. What did President Swallow now about this? Maybe there should be a special counsel appointed and look for quid pro quo?

  3. I guess some of you can’t read: “Evidence at trial demonstrated that members of the campaign, including the candidate, were unaware of the defendant’s illegal contribution scheme.”

  4. Ya right Matt,
    Just like Biden unaware of his son flying on our dime with him to the ultimatum recorded on camera. “ you have got 6 hours to fire that prosecutor or I walk with the money from the us taxpayers”. Then… Oh Geesh, my son just got a new job starting at 80k a month. I’m so proud.

  5. What evidence proves you are unaware of something? Testimony? Right…
    So this guy never met Swalwell? Or anyone working with or for Swalwell? Just a citizen who REALLY believes in Swalwells reelection because he’s, you know, so fabulous? Ironically, Tong happens to live and work in Swalwells district. Coincidence? No such thing.

    • I wasn’t aware that we lived in a society in which one has to *prove* they are unaware of a crime in order to escape mockery and ridicule. Can you prove you were unaware of the plan to destroy the twin towers before 9/11? According to what I read about this case, it sounds like Tong distributed money to a bunch of different people who then wrote individual checks to Swalwell’s campaign. So Swallwell is guilty because he received some checks and didn’t perform an investigation to find out the true source of the money? I don’t know if they’ve every met or not, and I assume you don’t either. And, of course it isn’t a coincidence that Tong lives in his district. I assume most people, if they had the desire to make a large contribution to a particular congressional representative, would choose the one who represents them. That just seems like obvious common sense, not a coincidence (nor a shocking proof of conspiracy!).

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