Former Fugees member Pras was indicted along with a fugitive Malaysian financier in an alleged federal scheme to funnel money into the U.S. during the 2012 presidential election.
The 46-year-old recording artist and 37-year-old Low Taek Jho were charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States government, and for making foreign and conduit campaign contribution, the U.S. Justice Department announced Friday (May 10).
The four-count indictment also charges Pras with one count of concealing material facts, and two counts of “making a false entry in a record in connection with the conspiracy.”
Low allegedly directed a transfer of approximately $21,600,000 from “foreign entities” into Pras’ account between June and November of 2012. From there, the money was allegedly made to appear as legitimate U.S. campaign donations so as to “conceal their true source,” according to a news release from the Justice Department.
The Grammy nominated rapper, whose birth names is, Prakazrel Michel, is also accused of using nearly $900,000 of the money from Low to disperse to around 20 “straw donors” who then made illegal donations in their names to a presidential joint fundraising committee. Furthermore, federal authorities claim Pras funneled more than $1 million of the funds from Low to an independent expenditure committee that was also involved in the 2012 presidential election. The indictment doesn’t outline the presidential campaign that the funds were donated to but TMZ reported that it was President Obama, who was running for his second term at the time. Obama however has nothing to do with purported financial scheme.
In addition to the aforementioned accusations, the indictment claims that by allegedly participating in the money scheme, Pras caused the presidential fundraising committee to submit false reports to the Federal Elections Committee. He is also accused of submitting false reports to the FEC in 2015 to conceal the true source of the money.
Low remains on the run. He was previously indicted in a pending case alongside former banker Ng Chong Hwa for conspiring to launder billions of dollars, and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act that prohibits the use of bribes to foreign officials to further business deals.