DA Vance: City Council Candidate to Serve Jail Time, Perform Community Service For Filing Fake Campaign Contributions And Attempting to Steal Public Matching Funds


April 20, 2018

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the sentencing of CELIA DOSAMANTES, 27, a 2015 candidate for New York City Council, for filing fraudulent documents with the New York City Campaign Finance Board in an attempt to steal approximately $18,000 in public matching funds. On February 2, 2018, DOSAMANTES was convicted at trial of 32 counts in the New York State Supreme Court indictment against her, including Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and multiple counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. DOSAMANTES was sentenced today to serve intermittent imprisonment over a four-month period and perform 400 hours of community service.

“Celia Dosamantes tried and failed to defraud a nationally-renowned program that bolsters participation in our democracy and empowers New York City residents to make their voices heard,” said District Attorney Vance. “Criminal violations of this critical program will be prosecuted aggressively by my Office, as this trial conviction demonstrates. I commend the staff of the Campaign Finance Board for detecting this fraud and referring it our Office, and for their daily work to protect the integrity of New York City’s landmark system of campaign finance.”

Amy Loprest, Executive Director of the NYC Campaign Finance Board, said: “I thank District Attorney Cy Vance and his staff for their hard work in obtaining this conviction for attempted theft. Taxpayers should know that the Campaign Finance Board’s rigorous audit work detected this fraud and prevented the payment of public matching funds. Criminal prosecutions in cases like this one are an important deterrent by demonstrating that there can be serious consequences for attempting to steal public funds, beyond the civil penalties available to the CFB.”

As proven at trial, DOSAMANTES was a candidate in the 2015 special election to fill a seat on the City Council representing the 23rd District in Queens. DOSAMANTES certified her campaign with the New York City Campaign Finance Board (“CFB”) and enrolled in the City’s Matching Funds Program, under which qualifying contributions from New York City residents are eligible to be matched at a $6-to-$1 rate. To receive matching funds, campaigns must file regular disclosure statements reporting all of their financial activity – including contributions and expenditures – and must include supporting documentation, such as copies of checks and contribution cards, in order to verify the accuracy of the statements.

On August 10, 2015, DOSAMANTES filed a disclosure statement with the CFB that included dozens of forged documents purporting to show contributions to her campaign. DOSAMANTES took 30 legitimate contribution cards which documented small contributions made by check or cash, and digitally altered them to make it appear as if the same donors had later made additional contributions. In an effort to mask her fraud, she withdrew $5,000 in cash from her personal checking account and redeposited the cash into her campaign bank account. DOSAMANTES then submitted that deposit slip to the CFB, purporting to show that she actually received the forged cash contributions contained in her disclosure statement. In total, the forged documents represented $2,980 in fictitious contributions for which DOSAMANTES attempted to claim public matching funds of $17,880.

Assistant D.A.s Emily Farber and Philip Gary handled the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Assistant D.A.s Renée Jarusinsky, Deputy Chief of the Public Corruption Unit, and Luke Rettler, Chief of the Public Corruption Unit, as well as Executive Assistant D.A. Michael Sachs, Chief of the Investigation Division. Investigative Analysts Jaycee Parker, Michael Renner, and Benjamin Bleiberg provided valuable assistance with this case, as well as Senior Rackets Investigators Christo Christonikos, Edward Johnson, and Shannon Rowe under the supervision of Supervising Rackets Investigator Alexander Farrugia and Chief Investigator Walter Alexander.

District Attorney Vance thanked the New York City Campaign Finance Board for its referral and assistance with the investigation.

 

Defendant Information:

 

CELIA DOSAMANTES, D.O.B. 11/12/1990

Queens, NY

Convicted:

  • Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony, 31 counts
  • Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

  • Intermittent imprisonment over a four-month period
  • 400 hours of community service
  • 5 years of probation