Candidate who made up donors charged with fraud

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A woman who challenged Republican Gov. Rick Scott in the August primary was arrested Monday and charged with two counts of fraud after authorities said she made up campaign donors in an effort to collect matching campaign funds from the state.

Yinka Abosede Adeshina, 43, was arrested at Tallahassee Regional Airport as she returned home from a vacation in Nigeria. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said she filed two campaign finance reports with the Department of State listing $182,080 in donations.

The problem is, the donors don’t exist and their addresses were fabricated, investigators said.

Adeshina received 16,761 votes, or 1.8 percent of the votes cast, in the Aug. 26 primary, which Scott easily won.

Adeshina served as her own campaign treasurer. Investigators said the only bank transaction they could find related to her campaign was the $7,816.38 check she wrote to the state to appear on the ballot.

Candidates can request matching funds from the state after raising $150,000. Adeshina asked for but didn’t receive state matching funds, FDLE said.

Adeshina listed 408 contributors and only 71 different contributor addresses. Her finance reports listed no campaign expenditures.

Tallahassee Police officers and Leon County deputies wore masks and gloves when arresting Adeshina because she was returning from a west African country. Adeshina was screened in Atlanta for signs of Ebola before boarding her connecting flight to Tallahassee.

She was being held on $10,000 bond in the Leon County Jail, which didn’t list a lawyer for her.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.