Candidate linked to David Rivera indicted
Justin Lamar Sternad indicted for campaign finance fraud
Justin Lamar Sternad, a 35-year-old hotel bookkeeper from Cutler Bay, turned himself in to the FBI Friday morning after being indicted for campaign finance fraud.
Sternad appeared in U.S. Magistrate Court in Miami on Friday afternoon, where his bond was set at $100,000.
"I can't admit or deny whether he's cooperating with the government, and right now he's facing charges," said Rick Yabor, Sternad's attorney. "We've asked for discovery and we're waiting for a trial date."
Sternad entered a not guilty plea to the charges, which include violating federal campaign finance laws, conspiracy to lie about his campaign finances in federal reports he filed and accepting contributions beyond the legal limit.
"He's not saying anything. All he's saying is not guilty," said Yabor.
Sternad ran as a Democrat for the U.S. House in the 26th Congressional District last year. Authorities say his campaign was run by GOP political consultant Ana Alliegro, who is close to former U.S. Rep. David Rivera, a Republican.
Rivera lost his re-election bid last November to Joe Garcia.
Rivera has not been charged with any wrongdoing and insists he has never met Sternad.
Alliegro is said to be out of the country. Mauricio Padilla, her attorney, offered no comment on her whereabouts or whether she was interviewed by the FBI regarding the case.