Former congressional candidate sentenced to 7 months in prison

Justin Lamar Sternad pleaded guilty to campaign finance law violations

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MIAMI - A judge has sentenced a failed South Florida congressional candidate to seven months in prison for campaign finance violations in a case linked to former U.S. Rep. David Rivera.

U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga on Thursday ordered Justin Lamar Sternad to serve one year of probation.

Sternad pleaded guilty last year to campaign finance violations, including accepting illegal contributions and filing false reports while running for District 26 in the Democratic primary in 2012.

Sentencing guidelines call for 12 to 18 months behind bars. Sternad is cooperating with prosecutors. He must turn himself in by Sept. 26.

Sternad's fraud case is linked to Rivera, who is running for his seat against incumbent Joe Garcia again this year.

An associate of Rivera, Ana Alliegro, is charged with illegally funneling more than $80,000 to Sternad, in an alleged attempt to weaken Garcia's campaign for the office. 

Rivera, a Republican, has denied any wrongdoing.

Alliegro is being held in a Miami-Dade County jail. She was denied bond in May, accused of being a flight risk after escaping to Nicaragua.

Sternad is expected to testify against Alliegro at her trial.

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