CLEVELAND — A telemarketing company owned by a politically connected multimillionaire who was sent to prison for witness tampering has filed for bankruptcy protection.
Suarez Corporation Industries said in a bankruptcy court filing that it owes $10 million to $50 million and has $500,000 to $1 million in assets.
Company owner Ben Suarez, 75, was convicted of witness tampering charges in a campaign finance investigation and spent just over a year in prison before being released in early 2016.
Suarez was convicted of witness tampering in June 2014 but acquitted of seven other charges related to campaign contributions made by employees, relatives and others to the 2012 campaigns of U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci and the failed U.S. Senate bid of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel. He had sought the politicians’ help in fighting a California consumer practices complaint.
Neither politician was accused of wrongdoing. Both campaigns returned the money after an FBI investigation was made public.
Suarez’s attorneys argued that he did not know it was illegal to reimburse the contributors.
Cleveland.com reports (http://bit.ly/2wqE1rn ) that a court filing blamed the SCI’s current money trouble on the Great Recession and Suarez’s time in prison.
The company based near Canton owes money to 100 to 200 creditors, including property companies, technology companies and banks, according to the bankruptcy petition.
Information from: cleveland.com, http://www.cleveland.com