08/24/2012 04:22 pm ET

Justin Lamar Sternad Faces Federal Investigation, Amends Campaign Finance Report

A little-known former Democratic congressional candidate with suspected ties to Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.) amended his campaign finance report to show he lended himself over $50,000 more than he had initially reported, the Miami Herald reported on Friday.

Justin Lamar Sternad, who is currently under federal grand jury investigation, was a political unknown before he ran in the Aug. 14 Democratic primary against Rivera's main Democratic rival Joe Garcia. Sternad, a hotel employee who lost the primary by a wide margin, had previously refused to disclose how he paid for tens of thousands of dollars worth of campaign mail services. Those unusual finances eventually drew the attention of the FBI and the Miami-Dade Police.

Campaign vendors told the Miami Herald that Sternad was backed by Rivera. However, Rivera has insisted he has never met the candidate, and the two have denied working together.

Just because Sternard has filed an amended report, it doesn't mean that the FBI has finished examining the case, according to legal experts. As the Herald noted, regardless of whether a report has been amended, it is still unlawful to knowingly and willingly file a false federal campaign report in the first place.

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