A Florida doctor who raised millions of dollars for Republicans and advised Gov. Charlie Crist pleaded guilty Thursday to tax fraud, mail fraud and making false statements for his role in a fraud scheme involving lobbying and fundraising for political candidates and organizations.
Alan Mendelsohn admitted that he and his co-conspirators siphoned approximately $330,000 from the political entities — both directly in the form of third-party payments — for Mendelsohn’s benefit from 2003 through 2008, according to the Justice Department.
Some of that money was used to buy a love-nest for him and his mistress, as well as a car for the mistress, prosecutors had charged. Mendelsohn also admitted to failing to report $82,000 in political donations that he secretly gave to a former state senator. All in all, Mendelsohn underreported his taxable income by over $600,000, said DOJ.
In a plea agreement, Mendelsohn admitted that the purpose of the conspiracy was for him and his co-conspirators “to unjustly enrich themselves by diverting to their personal use and benefit contributions to PAC #1, PAC #2, and PAC #3, and donations to other organizations.” Another purpose of the conspiracy, according to the plea agreement, was “to maximize such benefits to Mendelsohn and others by making payments under circumstances enabling Mendelsohn and others to conceal their income from the IRS.”
Mendelsohn also admitted that he asked to two contributors who were his lobbying clients, “to make what he termed donations to a private school in exchange for his lobbying services. Mendelsohn then caused these payments to be used to pay his tuition bils for his children’s education.”
About $330,000 of the contributions he solicited for the three PACs were used for his personal use, Mendelsohn admitted, “including payments for tuition expenses, tutoring expenses, a bonus for an employee of his medical practice, credit card charges for personal items, a car, expenses for the purchase of a house and gifts.”
The ex-senator to whom Mendelsohn admitted secretly donating to is not identified in the plea agreement, but according to the Miami Herald Mendelsohn told the judge that Democrat Mandy Dawson received the donations. Mendelsohn claimed Dawson approached him and a Tallahassee lobbyist about hiring her aide, Venica Blakely, to work on their political action committees, said the newspaper.
Mendelsohn will be sentenced in February and faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, said the Justice Department. Read the original indictment here.