Politically active Hialeah pain clinic owner Mark Cereceda pleaded guilty Wednesday after investigators found he made his employees contribute illegal donations to political campaigns across the state.
Cereceda and brother Kemel Cereceda will have to pay over $100,000 in fines, plus another $40,00 each to two charities, according to the plea deal. The men will have to serve three years of probation, including 60 days house arrest — after serving three days in jail.
Also, the men cannot make any political contributions during their probation.
Prosecutors believe the chiropractor Cereceda — who has actively lobbied lawmakers to keep Florida’s personal injury protection law intact —got his employees to illegally contribute more than $25,000 between 2010 and 2012.
Charges also were brought against Mark Cereceda’s clinic, Florida Wellness & Rehabilitation Center, which specializes in treating traffic accident victims and benefits from business generated by the PIP law.
Cereceda pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of making a campaign contribution in the name of another. His brother pleaded guilty to a felony count of making an excessive contribution in the name of another.
Both received a “withhold of adjudication,” which means no conviction will appear on their criminal histories.
The donations included ones Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, state Sen. Joe Negron and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa. Others included Carlos Trujillo, Katie Edwards and Eddy Gonzalez — all candidates for state representative.
Investigators do not believe any of the candidates knew of the illegal contributions.