Ex-Hill Staffer Sentenced to Prison for Election Crimes Scheme
A former congressional staffer was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay more than a half million dollars in restitution for a multi-year scheme in which he defrauded donors and used a portion of the proceeds to illegally finance campaigns for federal office.
Jason Posey, 48, of Tupelo, Mississippi, was sentenced in the U.S. District Court in Houston, Texas.
In addition to the jail time and order to pay $564,718, U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal also ordered Posey to forfeit more than $156,800 in ill-gotten gains, and to serve three years of supervised release after his prison term ends.
Posey pleaded guilty on Oct. 11, 2017, to one count of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.
As part of his plea, Posey admitted that he participated in a scheme led by former Representative Stephen Stockman of Texas, a conservative Republican who prosecutors accused of going on a “white collar crime spree.”
On April 12, 2018, a Houston jury convicted Stockman of all but one of the 24 felonies he was charged with in connection with a scheme in which he allegedly defrauded two conservative mega-donors and funneled the $1.25 million into personal and campaign expenses.
In November 2018, the colorful former congressman, who once walked out of a State of the Union being delivered by former President Barack Obama, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay about $1 million in restitution.
Stockman’s attorneys have said he will appeal his conviction.
According to the Justice Department, Posey admitted that between January 2013 and February 2014, he assisted Stockman in fraudulently soliciting more than $800,000 in donations from charitable organizations and the individuals who ran them, then using a series of sham nonprofit organizations and dozens of bank accounts to launder the money before it was spent on a variety of personal and campaign expenses.
Posey told prosecutors that shortly after Stockman took office in 2013, the congressman and another staffer in his office, Thomas Dodd, 40, used the name of a sham nonprofit, Life Without Limits, to solicit and receive a $350,000 charitable donation, to be used to create an educational center called the Freedom House.
Stockman, Dodd, and Posey instead used this donation for a variety of personal and campaign expenses, including illegal conduit campaign contributions, and payments for hundreds of thousands of robocalls and mailings promoting Stockman’s candidacy for U.S. Senate in early 2014.
In addition, Posey admitted that, in connection with Stockman’s Senate campaign, Stockman and Posey used another sham nonprofit entity called Center for the American Future to secure a $450,571.65 donation in order to fund a purportedly legitimate independent expenditure promoting Stockman’s candidacy.
Posey said the purportedly independent expenditure was in fact secretly controlled by Stockman, who directed his campaign and Posey to file false affidavits with the FEC covering up Stockman’s involvement.
In addition, Posey admitted that during the early stages of the investigation, Stockman directed him to flee to Cairo, Egypt to avoid questioning by law enforcement.
Dodd, of Houston, Texas, pleaded guilty on March 20, 2017, to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to make conduit contributions and false statements.
He was sentenced on Dec. 12, 2018, to serve 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $800,000 in restitution, to be followed by three years of supervised release.