A Long Beach man was taken into custody today on suspicion of conspiring with a four-time congressional candidate to embezzle campaign donations, officials said.

Zacharias Diamantides-Abel, 34, is accused of helping his friend, Omar Navarro, 34, funnel tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations back to himself for personal use, the United States Attorney’s office in Los Angeles announced Wednesday. Navarro’s mom, Dora Asghari, 59, was also taken into custody today in connection to the alleged crimes. Navarro remains in state custody on unrelated charges and is expected to be turned over soon to federal authorities, officials said.

Prosecutors allege that Navarro, who has unsuccessfully campaigned in the four most recent election cycles to represent south Los Angeles County residents in California’s 43rd Congressional District, illegally funneled more than $100,000 in campaign cash to himself from September 2017 through July 2020, using several people, including Abel and Asghari, to pull off the scheme.

Navarro, according to authorities, would make a payment to Abel or Asghari using campaign donations and then have them give him the money back in cash.

Navarro would then use the money to pay for personal expenses, including trips to Las Vegas, wine country and two criminal defense attorneys, authorities said. He also later falsely reported these expenditures as campaign expenses to the Federal Election Commission, authorities said.

Abel and Asghari meanwhile concealed Navarro’s scheme by cashing the checks instead of depositing them into their own bank accounts, authorities said.

If they did deposit the check, they often withdrew the funds shortly thereafter to share with Navarro, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Navarro also frequently made deposits after Abel or Asghari cashed campaign checks, officials said.

Prosecutors allege Asghari also created a shell company to help funnel the campaign cash back to Navarro and his own shell company. Navarro also formed a fake charity called the United Latino Foundation, authorities said.

Navarro faces 26 counts of falsification of records, 13 counts of wire fraud, three counts of prohibited use of campaign funds and one count of conspiracy, authorities said. Abel and Asghari each face multiple counts of wire fraud.

If convicted, Navarro could spend the rest of his life in federal prison, according to authorities, while Abel and Asghari face a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.