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May 23, 2017

Prosecutors seek jail time for entrepreneur Michael Liberty in elections case

Photo / Mozido
Photo / Mozido
Michael Liberty, a well-known developer and entrepreneur from Gray, faces six months in jail under a plea agreement reached with federal prosecutors for making illegal contributions to the 2012 presidential campaign of Republican Mitt Romney. Sentencing is scheduled for June 28 in U.S. District Court in Portland.

Federal prosecutors are recommending that prominent developer and entrepreneur Michael Liberty serve six months in jail or under home arrest for making illegal contributions to the 2012 presidential campaign of Republican Mitt Romney.

The Bangor Daily News reported that Liberty, 56, pleaded guilty to making $22,500 in illegal campaign contributions to Romney's 2012 campaign, masking nine donations under names of "employees, family members and associates" in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act.

Federal prosecutors also recommend a fine of between $67,500 and $250,000 for illegal political donations, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Liberty's sentencing is scheduled for June 28 in U.S. District Court in Portland, the PPH reported, noting that prosecutors agreed to seek the minimum sentence under federal guidelines after Liberty pleaded guilty last November.

Liberty, a Gray native, rose to fame and fortune in the 1980s as a Maine real estate developer, building shopping centers, industrial parks, office buildings and, arguably his most controversial project, the 91-unit Chandler's Wharf project on Portland's waterfront that spurred grassroots opposition and zoning changes to protect the city's working waterfront.

More recently, he founded Mozido, an Austin, Texas-based global mobile payments company described on its website as "a pioneer and global leader in cloud-based mobile financial services and commerce solutions."

A July 27, 2016, article in Forbes detailed the financial troubles dogging Liberty and Mozido, including requests from the Securities and Exchange Commission seeking their financial records. A followup Forbes story in October reported that Liberty faced legal action from the SEC, which his lawyer told the magazine had "absolutely no merit."

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