Rep. Ami Bera’s Father Sentenced to 1 Year in Federal Prison for Election Fraud

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Babulal Bera, father of Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove), is pictured after he pleaded guilty to federal campaign finance violations in May 2016. (Credit: John Meyers/ Los Angeles Times)

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Babulal Bera, a retired chemical engineer who emigrated from India and watched his oldest son win election to the U.S. House of Representatives, was sentenced Thursday to one year and one day in federal prison for organizing a money-laundering scheme that helped fund two of his son’s campaigns.

It was a sentence that defense attorneys for Bera, 83, argued was too severe, but one U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley said was appropriate.

“This is more than just a naive person who doesn’t know how elections work,” Nunley said during the sentencing hearing in Sacramento. “The defendant’s efforts were calculated.”

Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) was not in the courtroom to see his father convicted of two counts of federal campaign finance violations. The two-term Democrat has denied knowing about the secret donations and has expressed disappointment in his father’s actions.

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