Campaign finance reports are finding a lot of Claudio Osorio's money in reports filed by prominent South Florida Democrats including Broward U. S. Rep. Debbie Wassermann Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
Osorio was arrested last week on a federal fraud indictment that describes a multi-million-dollar scheme around Osorio's now-defunct company InnoVida. According to the Miami Herald, Talking Points Memo and other sources, Osorio used his political connections to lure investors to his company.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican, served on InnoVida's board, but Osorio allegedly made his greatest headway with the access he got after hosting a fundraiser for Barack Obama at his Star Island mansion during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Talking Points Memo reports Osorio, 54, donated at least $200,000 to other Democratic campaigns, although some of it has been returned.
The Osorios gave the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee over $90,000 between 2008 and 2009 and chipped in thousands to Obama campaign during the President’s 2008 run. (Osorio's wife,) Amarilis also gave big to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, with over $45,000 in late 2009 and early 2010, and the Democratic National Committee, with almost $60,000 in 2008 and 2010. The DNC returned most of the money later in 2010. The couple cut checks for a number of other Democratic candidates in Florida, including Rep.-elect Joe Garcia, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and former Rep. Kendrick Meek.
Osorio's company made special interlocking construction panels that seemed to promise low-cost housing and post-disaster shelter in places such a Africa, Latin America and Haiti and New Orleans. The Miami Herald reports on what happened to investors and U.S. government officials who took Osorio at his word.
Federal investigators say the Venezuela-born entrepreneur used much of the investors' money to finance his lifestyle. The Securities and Exchange Commission's complaint against Osorio and his partner, Craig Toll, can be seen here.