BOSTON — An attorney and former Tyngsboro hotelier was convicted by a federal jury on Friday of violating federal campaign finance laws during his run as a 3rd Congressional District candidate in the 2018 election.
Abhijit “Beej” Das, 50, of North Andover, was found guilty of charges associated with soliciting illegal campaign contributions and then using the funds to further his candidacy and his business ventures, including the former Stonehedge Hotel and Spa in Tyngsboro, according to the office of Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy.
“Mr. Das illegally solicited and accepted donations, used the money for a different purpose and hid his actions,” Levy said in a press release about Das’ conviction. “He lied to the government and to the voters. He abused the campaign finance process and thought he could get away with it.”
Das ran in the 2018 Democratic primary for the 3rd Congressional District, now represented by U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan. In December 2017, a few months after announcing his candidacy, Das devised a plan to inflate lagging fundraising numbers by soliciting personal loans from friends and associates exceeding the Federal Election Commission’s $2,700 legal limit.
The indictment states the total amount of funds on deposit in the campaign account was approximately $10,000 at that time, which was significantly behind the $450,000 fundraising goal.
Das contacted a contributor asking for a friend to support his campaign to reach the fundraising goal by the end of the year and indicated that reaching that total might need “some engineering.” The indictment states that during a conference call, Das claimed he had confirmed the legality of the personal loan to the campaign with an attorney. Prosecutors said Das, however, had never retained the services of an election law attorney during the campaign, and was acting as his own counsel.
Das advised a member of his campaign that he would “aggregate” the loans into “one batch” and execute a main transfer into the campaign account.
Das additionally caused three people to contribute approximately $125,000 to his campaign and structured the contributions as personal loans to a family member to circumvent FEC reporting requirement and contribution limits. Prosecutors said Das claimed the funds from the contributions were his own personal funds and engaged in illegal conduit contributions to his campaign.
According to the indictment, between the end of January 2018 and May 2018, Das withdrew approximately $314,500 from his campaign account and used at least $267,000 to pay debts for his hotel business relating to vendors, as well as the hotel’s 108-foot yacht, “Troca One,” and real estate taxes unrelated to his congressional campaign.
The indictment states Das operated a “financially struggling hotel business” between August 2014 and December 2019, which included the Stonehedge Hotel and Spa and the Daniel Hotel in Brunswick, Maine. Das owned and operated these properties through a series of entities, including Troca Hotels Management LLC, Boston East Tyngsboro Holding LLC, Troca Yachts Management LLC, and Troca Holdings LLC.
To conceal the fact that he was paying hotel business expenses with misappropriated campaign funds, the indictment states, Das instructed bank tellers to report the withdrawals as separate withdrawal and deposit transactions, rather than direct transfers.
Prosecutors said Das aided and abetted in the submission of false information in quarterly reports to the FEC by overstating the amount of cash-on-hand the “Das for Congress” campaign had in its bank account. In June 2018, for example, Das reported that his campaign’s total amount of cash-on-hand was approximately $440,000, when the actual amount was less than $5,000.
The jury convicted Das of accepting excessive campaign contributions, conduit contributions, conversion of campaign funds, and two counts of making a false statement. Levy’s office said each charge includes a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.
Das is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 17. His attorney, Michael Kendall, was not immediately available for comment.
In June 2023, Das was separately indicted by a federal grand jury on 10 counts of wire fraud, alleging he diverted more than $5 million in escrow funds from his clients’ accounts for personal expenses, including the purchase of a $2.7 million home in Boca Raton, Florida.
According to Levy’s office, that case is pending in court. Das has been on release awaiting trial. His attorney related to those charges, Glenn MacKinlay, declined to comment.
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