PORTLAND, Maine (WMTW) – Three former defense contractors have been indicted and federally charged with making illegal campaign donations to Sen. Susan Collins and a super PAC supporting her.
According to the indictment, Martin Kao, Clifford Chen, and Lawrence Lum Kee were executives with the Martin Defense Group, formerly Navatek.
The 15-page indictment from the Justice Department shows prosecutors say the men created an LLC shell company to make an illegal contribution to political action committee to support the U.S. Senate campaign for Sen. Susan Collins.
According to the Justice Department, the defendants also used family members as conduits to make additional contributions to the campaign directly and then reimbursed themselves for those donations by using funds procured by the employer, described as a “straw donor scheme.”
Defendants are charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S federal government. Kao has been charged with two counts of making false statements for “causing the submission of false information to the Federal Election Committee.”
Collins had helped Navatek, a Hawaii-based company with offices in Maine, win an $8 million dollar navy contract.
Navatek employed 50 people in Portland and Bangor and partnered with a Belfast Shipyard and the University of Maine on research.
Sen. Collins is not implicated at all and her office had previously said they were completely unaware of the allegations until last May.
“The Collins for Senator Campaign had absolutely no knowledge of anything alleged in the warrant,” Collins Communications Director Annie Clark told WMTW News 8 in a written statement at the time when the FBI probe became public last May. “The campaign found out about these allegations…when the complaint was made public.”
The defendants’ court date will be announced later. If convicted, all three face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.
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