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Central Florida “ghost” candidate, other figures tied to scandal charged

Orlando Sentinel, Annie Martin and  Jeff Weiner

Jestine Iannotti, one of the independent candidates at the center of Florida’s 2020 “ghost” candidate scandal, now faces several criminal charges, alongside a political consultant involved in launching her campaign and Seminole County’s Republican Party chairman.

The office of Seminole-Brevard State Attorney Phil Archer announced the charges against Iannotti, James “Eric” Foglesong and Benjamin Paris on Tuesday, which stemmed from an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Iannotti, 36, faces five misdemeanors and one felony: commission of a false or fraudulent act. According to the FDLE, she illegally accepted a $1,200 cash donation from Foglesong to support her campaign, and the pair also falsely identified other contributors who had not actually donated — including Paris’ cousin.

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