A man who came in seventh in the 2018 Democratic primary for the congressional seat now held by Lori Trahan was indicted yesterday on charges he illegally got friends and family members to loan money to his flailing campaign, which he then illegally used to bolster his flailing hotel venture.
Abhijit "Beej" Das was formally charged with five counts of violating federal campaign-finance laws and one count of lying to investigators in the indictment.
According to the indictment, Das owned the "financially struggling" Stonehedge Hotel and Spa in Tyngsboro - where he announced his candidacy in 2017 - and the Daniel Hotel in Brunswick, ME., as well as a 108-foot yacht.
The indictment says that to get around laws that limit individual contributions to $2,700 per election, Das came up with a scheme in which he convinced "friends and close associates" to "loan" him up to $50,000, which he then aggregated and gave to his campaign as a personal "loan."
This, the indictment said, violated both the federal limit on contributions and a federal law barring the hiding of the name of actual contributions.
Das then compounded the violations by withdrawing roughly $315,000 of campaign funds to pay "outstanding debts related to his financially struggling hotel business" as well as for upkeep of his yacht and real-estate taxes.