Louisiana Towboat Owner Faces Five Years in Prison for Illegal Campaign Contributions

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June 11, 2013

M/V Alfred P. Cenac III. courtesy Cenac Towing

The president of a Louisiana towing company is facing up to five years in prison after pleading guilty to using his personal and business accounts to fund campaign contribution checks in the names of others in support of two candidates for the U.S. Senate.

Arlen “Benny” Cenac Jr., 57, a resident of Houma, La., and the president and owner of Cenac Towing, pleaded guilty June 5 to making false statements to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC).

According to the plea documents, Cenac obtained cashier’s checks using his personal and corporate funds in names of individuals other than himself, including people he knew professionally, personally, or through family relations. Cenac neither sought nor obtained the permission of the individuals he listed as remitters on the cashier’s checks. He then submitted the checks as campaign contributions to the campaigns of two U.S. Senate candidates, causing the campaigns to submit materially false information regarding the source and the amount of the contributions to the FEC.

“Today’s plea marks the second campaign finance conviction in a week and is one of many such cases brought throughout the nation,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman. “Mr. Cenac’s crime undermined the cornerstones of campaign finance laws, and his conviction demonstrates our resolve to hold accountable anyone who corrupts our electoral process.”

“Mr. Cenac, in an effort to increase his political contributions, structured his financial transactions and created false documents,” said U.S. Attorney Boente. “This prosecution should serve as a warning to people who attempt to hide their identity and make contributions in excess of legal limits.”

Cenac faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when he is sentenced on Sept. 5, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier.

Cenac Towing L.L.C owns and operates a fleet of two newly built inland push boats and two 30 BBL barges out of Houma, La.

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