News


Three charged with campaign finance scheme following FDLE investigation

 
For Immediate Release
May 24, 2022
 
SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Following an FDLE investigation, Jestine Phillea Iannotti, 36, of Winter Springs, and James Eric Foglesong, 45, of Winter Park, are facing criminal charges regarding a campaign finance scheme in the 2020 Florida State Senate race for District 9. Benjamin Richard Paris, 38, of Longwood, is being served a court summons for his part in the scheme.
 
FDLE Acting Commissioner Mark Glass said, “Elections are the cornerstone of our democracy, and we must do everything we can to ensure they are fair and transparent. Lying about campaign donations is unacceptable because it provides an unfair advantage to the candidate. Protecting the integrity of our elections is a top priority in Florida, and that includes making sure candidates follow the laws.” 
 
Iannotti ran as an independent candidate for Florida State Senate District 9 in the 2020 election. The investigation showed that Iannotti illegally accepted a $1,200 cash donation from Foglesong in support of her candidacy. Agents found that Iannoitti and Foglesong falsely used the names of other individuals as contributors in official campaign finance documents reported to the Florida Department of State to skirt Florida laws on campaign contributions. Agents say that Paris provided the name and address of one of the individuals Iannoitti and Foglesong falsely used in their official campaign reporting, even though Paris knew the individual had not contributed to the campaign.
 
Iannotti faces one felony count of commission of a false, fictitious or fraudulent act, statement or representation in a matter within the jurisdiction of the State of Florida, Department of State, one count of accepting an aggregate cash contribution in excess of $50 from the same contributor in an election, two counts of perjury not in official proceeding, one count of false reporting or deliberate failure to include information required by F.S. Chapter 106, and one count of accepting one contribution through or in the name of another in any election.
 
Foglesong faces one felony count of making two or more contributions through or in the name of another in any election, one felony count of commission of a false, fictitious or fraudulent act, statement or representation in a matter within the jurisdiction of the State of Florida, Department of State, one felony count of unlawful use of a two-way communication device, one count of making an accepting an aggregate cash contribution in excess of $50 to the same candidate in an election, and one count of false reporting or deliberate failure to include information required by F.S. Chapter 106.
 
Paris faces one count of making one contribution through or in the name of another in any election, a first-degree misdemeanor.
 
FDLE previously arrested Foglesong in 2019 on four counts of grand theft after an investigation showed he stole approximately $20,000 from a political action committee he had co-founded during the 2018 election for Orange County Sheriff: http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/News/2019/April/FDLE-agents-arrest-political-strategist-for-grand.
 
Pursuant to FDLE arrest warrants, Iannotti and Foglesong have until May 25 to turn themselves in to the Seminole County Jail on $4,500 and $10,000 bond, respectively. The case will be prosecuted by the Office of the State Attorney, 18th Judicial Circuit.
 
For Further Information Contact:
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001