Who is Martin Kao?
Martin Kao is a US defense contractor who is reportedly being investigated by federal prosecutors for allegedly making illegal contributions to Republican Senator Susan Collins’ reelection bid in 2020. The former CEO of Hawaii-based Navatek recently pleaded not guilty against charges of defrauding banks through the Paycheck Protection Program during the pandemic.
Now, the FBI is seeking evidence on whether Kao violated the law that prohibits defense contractors from contributing to funds for elected officials.
The FBI is investigating whether a U.S. defense contractor unlawfully directed money to support Sen. Susan Collins, according to a search warrant recently unsealed in federal court https://t.co/OebhBfm0Xp via @WSJ
— Robert Wall (@R_Wall) May 19, 2021
How old is Martin Kao?
Martin Kao is believed to be in his 30s.
Martin Kao Navatek
According to his LinkedIn profile, Kao was designated as the President, CEO, and CFO of Navatek LLC started in 2012. The firm changed its name to Martin Defense Group shortly prior to his arrest. He stepped down from his position later.
In September 2020, Kao was charged in a separate case of defrauding banks of $12.8 million in COVID-relief funds aimed at small businesses.
It was alleged that Kao had transferred over $2 million from the funds into his personal accounts, while his company executive admitted that the firm was unaffected by the pandemic. In a court hearing on May 12, 2020, Kao denied the charges and pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering and bank fraud.
His trial on the charges is scheduled for July 2021. Now, Kao is facing additional charges of unlawfully funneling thousands of dollars to Collins’ campaign.
Martin Kao Net Worth
Collins is a part of a Senate subcommittee controlling military expenses and has pushed for Kao’s former company Navatek to obtain an $8 million defense contract in 2019, according to WSJ. These reportedly happened before most of the donations took place.
Months after the awarding of the contract, the pro-Collins’ super PAC called 1820 Political Action Committee received $150,000 donations from a new and unknown entity called Society of Young Women Scientists and Engineers LLC. In February 2020, the Campaign Legal Center flagged the donation to federal election authorities for possible violation of rules by hiding the true identity of the donor.
Martin Kao Wife
It was later found that the suspicious LLC was registered in Hawaii in the name of Jennifer Lam, who happens to be Kao’s wife. Now the FBI search warrant revealed that Kao’s company Navatek wrote the check for $150,000 to the LLC which eventually was donated to 1820 PAC.
Their family members, including Kao’s wife Tiffany Lam Kao, donated another $50,000 to Collins with many of the contributions coming on the same day.
Three donors in particular with similar names — Christopher Michael Lam, Christopher Maxim Tory Lam, and Christopher-Michael T. Lam — also gave the maximum allowable under the law, $5,600 each, to Collins’ campaign on the same day.
Martin Kao Susan Collins
According to Wall Street Journal, federal agents unsealed a search warrant in court on Friday, May 14, 2021, which cited evidence that Kao reimbursed his friends and family members who cumulatively made $45,000 donations to Collins’ reelection campaign. FBI also alleges that Kao illegally contributed $150,000 by directing the money in corporate funds to a super PAC that supports Collins’ campaign.
Meanwhile, it has been clarified by Collins’ spokeswoman that her campaign did not have any knowledge about the illegal contribution.
As of now, no charges have been filed yet against Kao in connection with the illegal campaign contribution.