Former California House candidate charged with misusing campaign cash

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Correction: Roger Stone was reportedly a campaign adviser to Omar Navarro. A previous version of this article contained incorrect information.

A four-time candidate for Congress has been charged with misusing campaign funding, including transferring the cash back to his personal accounts via his friends and family.

Omar Navarro, 34, was charged with 43 counts related to the mishandling of campaign funds, including one count of conspiracy, 13 counts of wire fraud, 26 counts of falsification of records and three counts of the prohibited use of campaign funds, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California.

Navarro, a Republican, has run for the House seat in California’s 43rd congressional district in the past four election cycles to challenge Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). He has previously faced legal troubles, and was arrested in 2019 on stalking charges.

Longtime ally of former President Trump and political consultant Roger Stone was also reportedly his campaign adviser at one time, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Now, a grand jury indictment has alleged that Navarro illegally funneled cash to himself multiple times between September 2017 through July 2020. He allegedly conspired with two other people to do so, including his mother Dora Asghari, who he is accused of sending checks to using campaign funds during this time before the money was transferred back to himself for personal use.

The indictment accuses Navarro of using campaign funds for personal expenses, including trips to Las Vegas and wine country and two criminal defense attorneys, and falsely recording them as campaign expenses to the Federal Elections Commission.

Ultimately, Navarro allegedly deposited more than $100,000 into his personal accounts between January 2018 and July 2020. He had no other income at the time and frequently deposited checks from his mother and his friend, who were also charged in the indictment, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

If convicted, Navarro could face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for the conspiracy count and up to 20 years in federal prison for each count of wire fraud. In addition, he could face up to 20 years for each falsification of records count and up to five years in prison for each count of prohibited use of campaign contributions, the U.S. attorney’s office noted.

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