Florida Wellness & Rehabilitation Center owner, Mark Cereceda, surrendered Friday to charges of illegal campaign donations throughout Florida. The owner of the Hialeah injury clinic, a chiropractor himself, donated over $25,000.00 from 2010 to 2012 to the campaigns of: Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, state Sen. Joe Negron and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa in addition to candidates for state representative Carlos Trujillo, Katie Edwards and Eddy Gonzalez. Cereceda and his brother, Kemel Cereceda, were in jail Friday night on felony charges. Cereceda is charged with illegally forcing his employees to donate to these campaigns and reimbursing them for these donations in violation of Florida law.
Detectives began investigating after news broke last year that Ana Maria Pando, a Hialeah-branch county court judge, had penned a letter to state authorities — on official letterhead — asking that Cereceda’s company be reinstated.
The clinic had let its business license lapse. The Florida Division of Corporations treated the judge’s letter as a court order and reinstated the company for free.
Pando was investigated for ethics violations, a probe eventually dropped when she lost a reelection big last year and she agreed not to run again. At the time, companies affiliated with Cereceda had cases pending before Pando. And Cereceda also contributed to her reelection campaign. The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission accused Pando of not reporting a “financial gift” from Cereceda.
The full article from the Miami Herald is available here.