Swindler faces election charges Prosecutor alleges illegal contributions

August 30, 1997|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF

Brian H. Davis, a convicted bank swindler who was once a high-roller in Maryland political circles, was charged yesterday with three counts of violating state election laws.

The former Baltimore trucking executive was charged in a criminal information with contributing $68,500 under false names. He was also charged with two counts of exceeding the state's $10,000 limit on political campaign contributions during a four-year election cycle. The charges, all misdemeanors, cover the 1994 and 1998 election cycles.

In an interview, Davis said he has signed an agreement to plead guilty and expects a sentence of one year, plus a year of probation. He said the term is to run concurrently with the five-year, three-month sentence he received in June on federal bank fraud and tax evasion charges.

State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli said he could not confirm any plea agreement. Under the election law, the maximum sentence for each count is a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Davis, who has not been ordered to report to prison, is scheduled to appear in Baltimore County District Court on Sept. 16 to face the state charges.

He described himself as "the fall guy" in the case and said he plans to make a full statement when he appears in court. "There isn't one politician that didn't know what was going on," Davis said.

Among the recipients of apparently illegal donations identified in an investigation by The Sun were Gov. Parris N. Glendening, Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger and former state attorney general candidate Richard Bennett, who recently accepted a position as counsel to the U.S. House committee investigating illegal campaign fund raising.

Each has denied knowing that Davis was contributing illegally.

The investigation by The Sun last year detailed more than $250,000 in state and federal campaign contributions made by Davis over five years. The investigation showed that Davis gave much of that money using the names of relatives without their permission. Other contributions were made in the name of his companies, Oceanic Ltd. and Williams-Nuhn Ranches, and company employees.

Montanarelli said his office's investigation was prompted by the newspaper's report.

The prosecutor said most of the activities with which Davis is charged fall under the state's two-year statute of limitations for election law violations.

He said prosecutors will explain Sept. 16 why they believe they can bring the charges in spite of the statute.

Some of Davis' contributions in the 1995 Baltimore mayoral race were made less than two years ago and fall within the statute, Montanarelli said.

Davis pleaded guilty to federal charges in March in connection with a scheme in which he used fraudulent truck titles to obtain millions of dollars worth of loans from local banks and other creditors.

He previously admitted using some of the money for campaign contributions.

Pub Date: 8/30/97

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