Officials: Sarasota GOP leader stole rival's name

Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 9:44 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 9:44 a.m.

SARASOTA, Fla. — A former leader of Sarasota's Republican Party allegedly stole a GOP rival's name to make donations to the campaigns of President Barack Obama and other Democrats.

Investigators say Robert Waechter wanted to make Lourdes Ramirez appear to be a disloyal Republican and hurt her possible campaign for the Sarasota County Commission.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported Tuesday that the 71-year-old Waechter allegedly purchased a prepaid debit card in Ramirez's name last year and used it to make donations to Obama and Democratic congressional and legislative candidates. Those donations could have been used against Ramirez in a Republican primary.

Waechter is charged with fraudulent use of personal identification. The former member of the Sarasota County Republican executive committee is scheduled for trial in January. He has declined to discuss the charges.

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