ANNAPOLIS, NOV. 1 -- The Maryland state prosecutor, concluding a seven-week investigation into the campaign finances of Anne Arundel County executive candidate Theodore J. Sophocleus (D), brought a misdemeanor charge today against his campaign treasurer.
Evangeline T. Taylor, Sophocleus's 25-year-old daughter, was charged with filing "an inaccurate or incomplete" campaign report as a result of numerous "errors" made in the disclosure of her father's finances, said James Cabezas, an assistant state prosecutor.
Under state law, Taylor's alleged offense is punishable by one year in prison and/or a $1,000 fine, although Cabezas said his office "will not be seeking jail time" because he does not think the mistakes stemmed from "willful fraud."
"We cooperated fully with the state prosecutor . . . and we gave them everything, knowing we did nothing wrong," Sophocleus said. "It's a technical charge . . . . The cloud has been lifted."
The investigation was launched in September after Sophocleus's opponent, Robert R. Neall (R), accused him of trying to hide the source of donations by falsely listing several dozen senior citizens who attended an April fund-raiser as cash contributors.
Sophocleus responded that the senior citizens did not pay for their tickets but said they were listed because many had donated cakes that were sold through a "wheel of fortune" that raised $1,575.
Cabezas, responding to Neall's allegation, said he did not find evidence that "there was big money from developers that was being hidden through contributions from other people . . . . The money generated at the fund-raiser was in fact collected there."
He refused to detail Taylor's alleged reporting violation but called it "not particularly serious."
"We feel the law has to be recognized when these type of errors are made," Cabezas said. "We charge this constantly. And it does not get publicized."
Although an amended finance report filed by the Sophocleus campaign last week shows that the candidate exceeded by more than three times the $1,500 legal limit on gambling proceeds that a campaign may raise at one event, Cabezas said that aspect of state campaign finance law is not subject to criminal charges.
Sophocleus, meanwhile, said the prosecutor's findings "vindicated" him, although he said his daughter is "naturally upset."
According to Sophocleus, the alleged violation involves the listing of the senior citizens as cash contributors. The prosecutor has indicated that the cakes should have been recorded as "in-kind contributions," he said.
The Neall campaign had no comment on the prosecutor's findings.