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Courts and Crime

UPDATE: Suarez company confident he'll be cleared of federal charges
Federal indictment accuses him of laundering campaign contributions through employees, others

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
In The Region:

Two executives of a North Canton company have been indicted -- accused of disguising nearly $200,000 in contributions to GOP Senate and congressional campaigns. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the path the feds say the money took.

LISTEN: Suarez indictment

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The eight-count federal indictment against 72-year-old Benjamin Suarez and 61-year-old Michael Giorgio includes charges of conspiring to violate campaign finance laws, obstruction of justice and making false statements.

Suarez is also charged with witness tampering.

The charges spring from allegations that Suarez agreed to raise $100,000 for the 2012 Senate campaign of Josh Mandel and congressional campaign of Jim Renacci. The indictment says Suarez recruited employees and others associated with his company to make the contributions in their names and had Giorgio reimburse them through payments disguised as salaries and then as profit-sharing.  In all, 38 contributions were made.

Mandel, Renacci and Suarez could not be reached for comment.

Here's the Toledo Blade story that originally raised questions about the campaign contributions: 

A statement from Suarez Corporation Industries underscores that the indictment did not involve the company’s business operations. “We are confident that our officers will be cleared of any wrongdoing and will stand behind them.

The Dispatch quotes a statement from Renacci spokesman James Slepian, who says, in part,  “neither Congressman Renacci nor his campaign have ever been the target of this investigation and have not engaged in any improper conduct.” He says “in an abudance of caution,” the money was returned.

The announcement of the indictment says the investigation is ongoing.

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