Mayor Joy Cooper of Hallandale Beach was arrested Thursday on three felony charges following an undercover FBI investigation
Mayor of Hallandale Beach was arrested Thursday on three felony charges following an undercover FBI investigation.
The Broward State Attorney’s Office said in a news release Thursday that Mayor Joy Cooper surrendered on the charges and turned herself in to state prosecutors. Subsequently she was booked into Broward County Jail.
A statement released by the Broward State Attorney’s Office said Cooper was charged with ‘multiple campaign finance violations’ stemming from an FBI undercover operation in May of 2012, including three felonies, reported the Miami Herald.
The felony charges are money laundering, official misconduct and exceeding campaign contribution limits.
Prosecutors say Cooper, a Democrat, also is charged with the misdemeanor soliciting contributions in a government building.
Cooper is pictured here with Rabbi Raphael Tennenhaus (left) and Florida Governor Rick Scott (center) at The Chabad of South Broward in Hallandale, Florida
Investigators say she ‘solicited campaign contributions for herself and others in amounts exceeding the legal limits, and caused those contributions to be falsely reported in campaign reports.’
Apparently she also solicited contributions of $1,500 each for then-commissioners William Julian and Anthony Saunders, according to the State Attorney’s Office.
The felonies carry maximum prison sentences of five years. The misdemeanor has a maximum one-year prison term.
Her bond was set at $12,000 for the four charges, and she was released Thursday evening, her lawyer said.
Cooper (left) is pictured here with Tomas Lopez (center) in July 9, 2012 at City Hall in Hallandale Beach, Florida
Her attorney, Larry Davis, said he was unsure why Cooper was targeted in the sting.
‘We look forward to our day in court, and Mayor Cooper’s vindication,’ Davis said in a statement.
State prosecutors said undercover agents posing as wealthy land owners had several meetings over several months with Cooper.
Apparently the meetings were documented through audio and video recording.
Cooper has been Hallandale Beach mayor since 2005 and previously served on the city commission beginning in 1999.
Hallandale Beach is south of Fort Lauderdale.
Cooper, Scott (center) and Tennenhaus (right) visit Chabad of South Broward in December 2014 in Hallandale, Florida