A U.S. District Court Judge in the Southern District of California sentenced a "political guru" on Thursday for his role in helping a Mexican billionaire launder hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign of San Diego Democratic mayoral candidate Bob Filner, who eventually won.
Judge Michael M. Anello ordered 45-year-old "political guru" Ravneet Singh, the former CEO of ElectionMall Technologies, to report to prison on October 12, 2017, to begin serving his sentence, which includes 15 months in prison and a $10,000 fine, the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) reported.
According to evidence presented at trial, Singh conspired with Mexican billionaire Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, 52, to inject more than $600,000 in cash and consulting services into the 2012 San Diego mayoral election — which is a crime due to Azano’s status as a foreign national.
Azano sought to buy political influence in exchange for his contributions, as he wanted support to develop San Diego into "Miami West" — a development project that included a marina and real estate opportunities where he would make millions.
To make his vision a reality, Azano used his son, 25-year-old Edward Susumo Azano Hester, and others to distance himself from the political contributions by having them funnel the money “through corporate and third person ‘straw donor’ contributions.”
Originally Azano looked to boost the campaign of Republican candidate District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, however, her loss in the mayoral primary shifted Azano’s interest to Democratic candidate Bob Filner (pictured above).
Evidence presented at trial showed that Singh “used his specialized skills and knowledge to facilitate the crimes,” and that he knew what he was doing was wrong as he reprimanded employees who made missteps — warning them of the potential “legal ramifications” of their actions.
With Azano’s help, Filner won the election, however he was forced to resign shortly after taking office after more than a dozen women came forward and accused him of sexual harassment.
The jury found Azano, Hester, and Singh all guilty of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States and donation and contribution by a foreign national aggregating $25,000 or more.
Azano is due back in court on September 5 to face a firearm charge and faces sentencing on October 23; Hester is due back in court on November 6.