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Date: 11-19-2020

Case Style:

United States of America v. Ravneet (“Ravi”) Singh

Case Number: 14-CR-0388-MMA

Judge: Michael M. Anello

Court: United States District Court for the Southern District of California

Plaintiff's Attorney: United States District Attorney’s Office, San Diego, California

Defendant's Attorney:


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Description: San Diego, California conspiracy to bribe a politician criminal defense lawyer represented Self-christened campaign guru Ravneet (“Ravi”) Singh charged with conspiring with Mexican billionaire Susumo Azano to make almost $600,000 in illegal political contributions to candidates Bonnie Dumanis and Bob Filner in the 2012 San Diego mayoral campaign in an effort to buy “a friend in the Mayor’s office.”

“Public corruption and campaign finance fraud undermines the strength and confidence in our system of government which is why these cases have always been a top criminal priority for the FBI,” said Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner. “The American people can count on the FBI to continue to expose those, like Azano and Singh, who attempt to illegally influence American political processes and bring them to justice.”

In September 2016, after six weeks of trial and five days of deliberations, a federal jury in San Diego returned guilty verdicts against Azano and Singh as well as Azano’s son, Edward Susumo Azano Hester.

According to evidence presented at trial, Azano, Singh, and others conspired to inject hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and in-kind consulting services to the Dumanis and Filner campaigns, despite the fact that Azano’s foreign national status made such contributions illegal. To conceal his connection to these contributions, Azano arranged with Singh, his son Edward Hester, and others to funnel this illegal foreign money through corporate and third person “straw donor” contributions.

In return for his money, Azano sought to buy political influence and support for his vision: “Miami West” – a San Diego waterfront development project with a yacht marina, a branded five-star hotel and luxury bayside condominiums, a development project that promised Azano hundreds of millions in profit. Azano also demanded access, like the ability to summon influential political figures to his home on a moment’s notice or to obtain letters of reference to secure his son’s admission to the University of San Diego.

According to testimony at trial, Azano’s illegal money harnessed by Singh in an effective Internet fusillade made the difference in electing Bob Filner as Mayor. Within weeks after the election, with the Mayor squarely in his pocket, Azano met in London with renowned, Middle East-based master developers to refine his plans for “Miami West.” A month after the election, Azano invited the developers to fly halfway around the globe to meet with him and Mayor Filner about the Miami West project, and just four days after Filner’s inauguration, that meeting occurred, catered by Nobu, at Azano’s Coronado Cays mansion.

Filner resigned six months later amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Azano and Singh were initially sentenced in 2017 to incarceration periods of 36 months and 15 months. After multiple lengthy appeals to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and a petition for review at the Supreme Court, which invalidated their convictions on one of the 36 counts charged in the indictment, Judge Anello re-sentenced Azano in 2019 to the same sentence of 36-months in prison. Today, Judge Anello sentenced Singh to a 12-month sentence. Singh was ordered to report to prison on January 11, 2021.

In addition to Azano, Singh, and Hester, local car dealer Marc Chase, his company South Beach Acquisitions, consultant Marco Polo Cortes, and former police detective Ernesto Encinas were also convicted of various campaign fraud-related offenses as part of this long-running investigation.

Executive U.S. Attorney Linda Frakes specially commended all the law enforcement agents and agencies who rigorously pursued this matter since its inception through its conclusion.

DEFENDANT Case Number: 14CR0388-MMA

Ravneet Singh Age: 48 Coral Springs, FLA

SUMMARY OF CONVICTIONS

Count 1: Conspiracy to Commit Offenses Against the United States – Title 18, U.S.C., Sec. 371.

Maximum Penalties: Up to five years in prison and $250,000 fine

Count 3: Donation and Contribution by a Foreign National Aggregating $25,000 or more – Title 2, U.S.C., Secs. 437g (d) (1) (A) (i) and 441e (A) (1).

Maximum Penalties: Up to five years in prison and $250,000 fine

Counts 32: Falsification of Records – Title 18, U.S.C., Sec. 1519.

Maximum Penalties: Up to 20 years in prison per count and $250,000 fine per count.

AGENCIES

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation

San Diego Police Department

Outcome: Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Michael M. Anello: Sentence With PSR Hearing held on 11/9/2020 for Ravneet Singh (2). Counts 1ss, 3ss and 32ss: Custody BOP for a term of 12 months and 1 day as to each count to run concurrent. 3 years Supervised Release as to each count to run concurrent. $100.00 Assessment as to each count ($300.00 total). $10,000.00 Fine imposed as to count 1. Count 37ss reversed. Defendant to self surrender by noon on 1/11/2021. Status re self surrender set for 1/19/2021 at 10:00am before Judge Michael M. Anello. Status to be vacated upon confirmation from the USMS that the defendant has self surrendered. (Appearing by telephone: Court Reporter Juliet Eichenlaub, Defense Attorney Michael Lipman RET). (Appearing by video: Defense Attorney Harold Krent). (AUSA Mark Pletcher). (Defense Attorney Karen Alexander RET)(USPO Rachael O'Gorman). (no document attached) (pdc) (Entered: 11/10/2020)

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