Monday, April 2, 2012

Fake Nigerian Banker Funds Obama Reelection Effort

Obama, Assongba and Tony Z
Washington DC, Apr 2, 2012.  One of the major donors to President Barack Obama has been accused of defrauding a businessman and impersonating a bank official, creating new problems for Obama's reelection campaign as it deals with the questionable history of another top supporter.

A New York donor, Abake Assongba, and her husband Anthony "Tony Z Tiger" DeRosa, have contributed more than $50,000 to President Obama's reelection effort this year, according to Federal campaign records. But Assongba is also fending off a civil court case in Florida, where she's accused of thieving more than $650,000 to help build a multimillion-dollar home in the state – a charge her husband denies.

Assongba and her husband, Anthony J.W. DeRosa, who goes by the name "Tony Z Tiger" on Myspace,  run a charity called Abake's Foundation that distributes school supplies and food in Benin, Africa. A photo posted on Assongba's Facebook page shows the couple standing next to Obama at a May 2010 fundraiser. Assongba was listed on President Obama's campaign website as one of his volunteer fundraisers. This is an elite group of just 440 very wealthy individuals.

Obama has released his list of his campaign donation "bundlers," the financiers who raise campaign money by soliciting high-dollar contributions from friends and associates. But that disclosure has not come without snags; his campaign returned $200,000 last month to Carlos and Alberto Cardona, the brothers of a Mexican fugitive wanted on federal drug charges.

Tony Z Tiger and Assonga
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt declined comment to The Associated Press. He instead referred the Associated Press to previous statements he made to The Washington Post, which first reported the allegations against Assongba in its Sunday editions.

LaBolt told the paper 1.3 million Americans have donated to the campaign, and that it addresses issues with contributions promptly.

In one Florida case, which is still ongoing, Swiss businessman Klaus-Werner Pusch accused Assongba in 2009 of engaging him in an email scam involving a large inheritance. After all the necessary bank fees were paid, Pusch was supposed to recieve $125 million inheritance from a distant relative who had died in a plane crash. No money was ever received.

The suit alleges Assongba impersonated a bank official to do it. Pusch referred the Associated Press' questions to his attorney, who did not immediately return requests seeking comment Sunday.

The President has many problems with shady campaign donors
Abake Assongba has left a trail of debts, with a former landlord demanding in court more than $10,000 in back rent and damages for a previous apartment. She was also evicted in 2004 after owing $5,000 in rent, records show.

In an interview with the AP on Sunday, DeRosa said the allegations against his wife were untrue, although he couldn't discuss specifics because of pending litigation.

He said he and his wife were "very perturbed" by the charges.

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