A Nevada man has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for pocketing online donations for fake Donald Trump and Joe Biden political action committees, the Department of Justice said Monday.
James Kyle Bell, 44, of Las Vegas, also illegally obtained government COVID relief funds for a series of shell companies he set up, according to the DOJ. In addition to his prison sentence, Bell must forfeit or pay back some $1.4 million in cash and assets.
In the fake business scam, Bell fraudulently obtained $1.1 million from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, established to help companies hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a DOJ statement.
Bell collected some $346,000 through fake PACs he registered with the Federal Elections Commission, including the “Keep America Great Committee,” (purportedly for Trump), and the “Best Days Lie Ahead Committee” (supposedly for Biden).
“This prosecution is the first in the District of Columbia involving the creation of scam political action committees,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves. “It also is another in a series of prosecutions targeting frauds committed against the COVID relief efforts.”
Graves added: “We will protect the public against fraudsters who seek to line their pockets by exploiting the political process and government programs.”