MIAMI (AP) _ An associate of former U.S. Rep. David Rivera has been denied bail while awaiting trial on charges of violating federal campaign finance laws.

A magistrate judge Friday found that 44-year-old Ana Alliegro was a risk of fleeing prosecution. Prosecutors say she fled to Nicaragua before being charged after falsely claiming she had turned over her passport to the FBI.

Alliegro is charged with funneling over $80,000 to the 2012 Democratic primary campaign of Justin Lamar Sternad, a previously unknown candidate who pleaded guilty last year to campaign finance violations. Sternad is cooperating with prosecutors.

The case centers on whether Rivera and Alliegro were using Sternad to weaken Democrat Joe Garcia, who eventually defeated Rivera for South Florida's 26th District U.S. House seat. Rivera, a Republican, has denied any wrongdoing.

(Photo: Joe Raedle / 2010 Getty Images )