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Mo. financial adviser guilty of stalking in Tenn.

ADRIAN SAINZ • Apr 12, 2013 at 4:19 PM

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A prominent Missouri financial adviser and campaign fundraiser for President Barack Obama pleaded guilty Friday to stalking and harassing her daughter's ex-boyfriend.

Nadia Cavner, 53, pleaded guilty to one count of felony interstate stalking in U.S. District Court in Memphis. She was released on her own recognizance and is scheduled to be sentenced by District Judge John Fowlkes on Aug. 1.

The website for Cavner's firm, the Nadia Cavner Group, says she is an adviser with Cambridge Investment Research, the brokerage arm of BancorpSouth in Springfield, Mo. She oversees over $485 million in assets, mostly for high net worth clients, according to the website.

Cavner organized a fundraiser for Obama in Springfield in July 2008, collecting $250,000 for the campaign, The Washington Post reported.

Cavner also worked for Obama's 2008 campaign, collecting between $50,000 and $100,000, according to opensecrets.org. She donated $1,000 to Obama's 2012 campaign.

Cavner also has donated to Democrat U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and the Missouri Democratic State Committee. And, she has been active in several charities, including ones that deal with breast cancer, education, and food and safe housing for people in need.

Prosecutor Brian Coleman read a list of allegations during Friday's court hearing. Coleman said Cavner's daughter Maral had a boyfriend when she attended Emory University in Atlanta, but they broke up and he moved to Memphis.

The man, identified only as P.M., then began dating someone else in Memphis, identified as K.S., Coleman said.

From July 2011 to November 2011, Cavner harassed P.M. in efforts to get him to break up with his new girlfriend. Cavner had an employee send the ex-boyfriend an anonymous letter questioning his judgment for breaking up with her daughter.

Attempts at intimidation escalated when she asked private investigators to follow and conduct surveillance on the couple. The ex-boyfriend also received demeaning voicemails and a harassing letter in his mailbox at the University of Memphis, which he attended.

Cavner also asked investigators to plant a recording device in the ex-boyfriend's home, but they refused, saying it was illegal. She also offered the private investigators $5,000 to have P.M. arrested for driving while intoxicated.

Coleman said Cavner then discussed the possibility of someone becoming violent with the ex-boyfriend, but not to the point of killing him.

"You know, break an arm or two," Cavner is accused of saying.

Cavner also discussed a drive-by shooting to scare the couple. The drive-by would have been blamed on gang members, Coleman said.

Investigators eventually contacted the FBI. Prosecutors said Cavner spent $26,000 to harass her daughter's ex-boyfriend.

"Do you freely admit your guilt to those things?" Judge Fowlkes asked Cavner.

"I do," she said.

Coleman did not discuss details of the relationship between Maral Cavner and her former boyfriend. Nadia Cavner's attorney Steve Farese declined to discuss the relationship.

Coleman has recommended a sentence of probation for Cavner. She had faced up to five years in prison if convicted at trial on the interstate stalking charge, Farese said.

The avid political fundraiser also loses the right to vote because she pleaded guilty to a felony.

Farese said Cavner plans to continue her involvement in charitable causes, though she is concerned her business could suffer.

"The people that know her stand totally behind her," Farese said. "I don't expect that to change."

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