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Friend Of Former Congressman Charged With Federal Campaign Violations

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Ana Alliegro – friend and political confidante of former Republican Congressman David Rivera – was arrested by Nicaraguan authorities at a hair salon Tuesday and turned over to the FBI Friday morning. Late Friday afternoon, Alliegro returned to Miami on a flight from Managua. She covered her faced with her hands as she walked through the airport.

When she arrived at the FBI’s North Miami Beach office Friday night, a jacket covered her hands cuffed behind her back.

According to a copy of the indictment provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, Alliegro faces federal charges of conspiracy, making false statements, and two counts of making illegal campaign contributions.

Ana Alliegro arrested in Managua, Nicaragua Friday March 7, 2014. (Source: CBS4)

Ana Alliegro arrested in Managua, Nicaragua Friday March 7, 2014. (Source: CBS4)

The federal indictment against Alliegro has been under seal for weeks, accusing her of helping finance a bogus candidate – Justin Lemar Sternad – whose only role was to bash and attack Rivera’s main rival in the 2012 election – Joe Garcia.

Garcia went on to beat Rivera anyway in the race to represent the 26th Congressional district.

The indictment stated Alliegro made “a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement” and “aided and abetted the making of contributions in excess of the $2,500 limit of the Election Act”.

It went on to allege she “met with a graphic designer to develop flyers for the campaign of co-conspirator Justin Lamar Sternad” and even “hand-delivered $10,000, in cash” to a printing company for the flyers.

Sternad has pleaded guilty to violating federal election law, and now admits to receiving more than $80,000 from Alliegro in illegal contributions. Sternad said he was told the person ultimately behind the scheme was Rivera – but Rivera has not been charged and he denies any wrong doing.

In an amended campaign finance report filed on January 30, Sternad wrote: “I later discovered that Ana Alliegro was working with David Rivera.”

The indictment against Alliegro – who once described herself on Twitter as a Republican “bad girl” — does not name Rivera.

If convicted, Alliegro faces up to five years in prison for each county in addition to hefty fines.

Her initial appearance before a magistrate is scheduled for Monday afternoon.

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