The co-owner of a Waterbury tobacco shop pleaded guilty on Friday to a conspiracy charge in connection with a scheme to direct illegal contributions to the campaign of former congressional candidate Christopher Donovan.
George Tirado, 36, of Wolcott, appeared before U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to make false statements to the Federal Elections Commission and to impede the FEC's enforcement of federal campaign finance laws.
He faces a maximum prison term of five years and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced on July 23.
Tirado and others were accused of being part of the conspiracy to pump money into Donovan's campaign in exchange for promises from Donovan aides that they would work to kill a bill that would have taxed roll-your-own cigarette shops.
According to a new release from the U.S. Attorney's office, Tirado and Paul Rogers co-owned Smoke House Tobacco, a roll-your-own smoke shop with two locations in Waterbury, and conspired to direct contributions into Donovan's campaign. The conspirators recruited multiple individuals to serve as conduit contributors, which means they allowed checks to be written in their names to the campaign and were reimbursed with cash, concealing the participation of roll-your-own shop owners, the release said.
Rogers and five others, including Joshua Nassi, who was Donovan's campaign manager for Donovan, also pleaded guilty in the scheme and await sentencing.