MIAMI (CBSMiami) - One time South Florida congressional candidate Justin Lamar Sternad passed the media in silence as he turned himself in to authorities to begin serving his prison sentence.
Sternad, who pleaded guilty last year to campaign finance violations in a case linked to former U.S. Rep. David Rivera, was originally sentenced to seven months in prison. That sentence was later reduced to 30 days imprisonment with 3 months of house arrest to follow.
The investigation in Sternad involved allegations that Rivera, a Republican, secretly financed Sternad's campaign to weaken Democratic rival Joe Garcia.
Rivera associate Ana Alliegro was also charged in the case. Alliegro accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty to four counts of campaign finance violations in federal court. Alliegro reportedly funneled about $80,000 to Sternad's campaign. Alliegro was sentenced earlier this year to time served (six months in jail), six months house arrest and two years of supervised release.
Rivera has been listed as "co-conspirator A" in prosecution papers but has never been charged. He has denied any wrong doing.
Sternad said he filed his paperwork in 2011 to get the Democratic nod to run for U.S. Representative when he was approached by Alliegro to help his campaign.
After her indictment, Alliegro fled to Nicaragua where she was arrested and brought back to the United States.
Prosecutors say Alliegro has cooperated with investigators who are reportedly building a case against Rivera. Sternad has said he too will testify against Rivera if called to do so.
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