Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings (Fla.) has paid a convicted money launderer nearly $75,000 for "part-time" work out of a district office, salary filings show.
Dona Nichols-Jones, the wife of Mikel Jones, a former staffer to Hastings who served as his district administrator from 1993 to 2011, is currently listed as an "aide" in his Palm Beach County office.
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Dona Nichols-Jones, along with her husband, were convicted in 2011 of money laundering, conspiracy, and fraud after they had used hundreds of thousands of dollars from a business loan for personal use, the FBI announced in November 2011.
The couple's scheme stemmed from a loan that Mikel received to help finance a Philadelphia law firm he owned. Jones secured a multi-million line of credit from Stillwater, a New York-based lender, and agreed to only use the credit for legitimate expenses in relation to his firm's operation.
The Joneses set up a shell company and created fake invoices in order to funnel money to themselves. The stolen money was used to pay credit card bills and purchase tickets to sporting events.
The Joneses also laundered $160,000 through Dona and her daughter's Florida bank account. This money was then used to replenish funds Jones had taken from his law firm trust account. From 2008 to 2009, the Joneses obtained $350,000 using fraudulent invoices and false representations.
Dona Nichols-Jones paid $400,000 in restitution and served one day in prison.
Hastings, who fired Mikel in 2011, brought Dona onto his payroll in 2014. The Democratic congressman has since paid Mrs. Jones $75,000 for ‘part-time' work.
Dona was paid $15,124.97 as a part-time employee for Hastings from April to December 2014, salary filings show. Nichols-Jones was compensated $20,499.96 in 2015. Her pay increased to $29,208.32 in 2016. Nichols-Jones has been paid $9,500 from the beginning of January to the end of March of this year, according to the most recently available data.
Hastings' office did not respond to inquiries on what Nichols-Jones does as a part-time employee in his district office and how many hours per week she works.
Hastings also pays his longtime girlfriend, Patricia Williams, the maximum staff of $168,411 to work out of a district office and has done so for five straight years, the Washington Free Beacon previously reported.
Williams served as co-council for Hastings during his impeachment trial as a federal judge in the early 1980's after Hastings was charged with "conspiracy and obstruction of justice for soliciting a $150,000 bribe in return for reducing the sentences of two mob-connected felons convicted in Hastings' court."
Hastings was initially acquitted in 1983. However, a probe later found that he had tampered with evidence, committed perjury, and conspired to accept bribes.
The House of Representatives voted 413 to 3 in 1988 to bring 17 articles of impeachment against Hastings, the most that had been brought against any one person at that point in time. The U.S. Senate ordered Hastings removed from the bench in 1989, making him the first sitting judge to be charged with a crime while on the federal bench, the Department of Justice noted.
Williams has been paid millions since she first appeared in Hastings' office as a staff assistant in 2000. In 2006, she took over as the deputy district director of his Broward County, Fla., office.
Williams is compensated more than the congressman's D.C. chief of staff, which is typically the highest paid position in a congressional office.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a D.C.-based watchdog group, filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics and requested an investigation into the Democratic congressman's payments to his girlfriend following the Free Beacon report.
In addition to Patricia Williams, Hastings also employs Maisha Williams, Patricia's daughter, as a staff assistant in his Broward County office where her mother is deputy district director.