A former principal in the accounting and wealth management firm Anchin, Block & Anchin has pleaded guilty to causing the Hillary Clinton for President Committee to unwittingly submit false statements to the Federal Election Commission involving tickets to an Elton John concert.
Evan Snapper, 46, of Fairfield, Conn., pleaded guilty Monday in the U.S. District for the District of Columbia, and his plea was accepted by the judge.
Snapper, a former tax attorney for New York-based Anchin, was charged on Dec. 3, 2010, in a one-count criminal information. Prosecutors alleged that he knowingly and willfully caused the Clinton's campaign committee unwittingly to file materially false reports with the FEC. The information charged that the reports falsely showed that 21 individuals known to Snapper had contributed $2,300 each to the committee when, as Snapper admitted, the contributions had actually been made by one individual.
According to court documents, the individual was a client of Anchin, where Snapper had served as a principal. In that capacity, Snapper had authorized access to bank accounts associated with the client. Snapper admitted that in March 2008, he informed the individual that Elton John was scheduled to perform a concert in New York City on April 9, 2008, and that the proceeds from the ticket sales would be contributed to support the committee.
Snapper admitted knowing that the individual supported the candidate and that when the client asked Snapper what could be done to help the committee, Snapper suggested that the individual could find people to buy tickets to the concert. According to court documents, the client suggested calling family members and friends and reimbursing them for the tickets that they purchased for the concert. Snapper admitted that when this suggestion was made, he knew that reimbursements of political contributions violated campaign finance regulations.
Snapper admitted that he and 20 people agreed to purchase a ticket to the concert, with the understanding that they would be reimbursed by the individual. Snapper admitted having direct or indirect contact with all of these people to coordinate the ticket purchases and reimbursements. Snapper also admitted that, believing he was authorized to do so, he caused the 21 reimbursements to be made from the funds of the individual. He admitted that he took steps on his own initiative to conceal the true purpose of the payments as reimbursements for political contributions.
These steps included causing some of the reimbursements to be made in amounts that were not multiples of $2,300; to be made in part by check and in part by cash; and to be misrepresented in the individual’s financial account ledgers as payments for purposes other than reimbursements for political contributions. In total, Snapper caused the source of $48,300 in individual contributions to the committee to be falsely reported to the FEC.
In addition, Snapper admitted that in 2007, at the individual’s request, he and his wife made total contributions in the amount of $4,600 and $9,200 to the Jim Gilmore for President Committee and the Gilmore for Senate Committee, respectively. Snapper admitted that, believing he was authorized to do so, he caused reimbursements for those contributions to be made from the individual’s funds. In total, Snapper admitted that he caused the source of $13,800 in individual contributions to the Gilmore Committees unwittingly to be falsely reported to the FEC.
At sentencing, scheduled for Apr. 7, 2011, Snapper faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Anchin managing partner Frank A. Schettino told the Washington Examiner that the firm initiated its own investigation into Snapper and reported its findings to the authorities. “We have cooperated fully with all government inquiries and will continue to do so,” he said.
"Immediately upon discovering Mr. Snapper’s actions, Anchin retained legal counsel and initiated
its own comprehensive internal investigation," Austin V. Campriello, an attorney with the law firm Bryan Cave LLP, said in an e-mailed statement. "The firm and Mr. Snapper then promptly and
voluntarily reported the results of this investigation to the appropriate governmental authorities."
“Anchin deeply regrets the past events that occurred that led to this result," said Schettino in the statement. "The management and staff of Anchin, Block & Anchin are proud of our transparent and proactive efforts to work with federal investigators to report this matter ... Throughout our 87 years, we have not taken for granted the trust and confidence our clients place in us, and we will continue to be the firm that clients turn to for the full range of their accounting needs.”
Schettino added that the firm has been advised that no charges would be brought against Anchin
as a result of this investigation. No one else has been charged
Snapper has also been in trouble with another of Anchin’s celebrity clients, best-selling novelist Patricia Cornwell. She sued Anchin last year for losing $40 million of her money, according to the Examiner. Cornwell claimed Snapper had embezzled money, writing a check from her account to his daughter for a bat mitzvah gift when she did not know the girl.
Anchin controlled the novelist’s business affairs and investments for four-and-a-half years, according to NPR. She and her spouse sued the firm and Snapper for conversion, negligence and breach of contract.
Campriello declined to comment on the Cornwell lawsuit.
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