Nevada man Sentenced to 46 Months in Jail for Scams Involving Campaign Fundraising and COVID Relief Loans | USAO-DC
WASHINGTON – James Kyle Bell, 44, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was sentenced today to 46 months in prison for implementing separate high-profile fraud schemes last year: one involving fundraising for bogus Political Action Committees (PACs) he created, and one involving COVID-19 relief funds he sought and received through fraudulent requests. He also has to forfeit or repay nearly $ 1.4 million in cash and assets.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Field Office in Washington, Criminal Division, and Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of the Inspector of the Small Business Administration of the United States. General, Eastern Region.
Bell registered two fake PACs with the Federal Election Commission. One, the “Keep America Great Committee”, would have supported Donald Trump. The other, the “Better Days Ahead Committee,” reportedly backed Joseph Biden, Jr. He sought nationwide donations for both PACs using online platforms and email solicitations, generating at less $ 346,000.
Additionally, Bell created several shell companies that it used to defraud the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was created by Congress to provide financial assistance to Americans who have suffered economic losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He requested and obtained approval of over $ 1.1 million in four separate loans. He also requested a fifth loan of $ 521,625, but withdrew his request.
“This lawsuit is the first in the District of Columbia involving the creation of fraudulent political action committees,” said US Attorney Graves. âThis is also another in a series of fraud lawsuits against COVID relief efforts. The message is clear: together with our law enforcement partners, we will protect the public from fraudsters who seek to line their pockets by exploiting the political process and government programs. “
“Today’s conviction should serve as a further reminder to those who cheat and steal from hard-working Americans.” The FBI and its partners will continue to aggressively investigate those who commit fraudulent schemes at the expense of the American people . Bell defrauded over 2,000 victims, all of whom were tricked into thinking they were donating to the presidential candidate of their choice, but in reality, that money was going into Bell’s personal accounts. Bell also defrauded the government through the Paycheck Protection Program, pocketing money intended for Americans in need. â
âLying to gain access to the SBA’s pandemic response programs is not without consequence,â said Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite of the SBA’s Office of the Inspector General, Region of the United States. East. âThe SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program is intended to provide assistance to small businesses across the country grappling with the challenges of the pandemic. I want to thank the United States Attorney’s Office for its leadership and dedication to the pursuit of justice. “
Bell pleaded guilty in May 2021 to one count of wire fraud in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was condemned by the Honorable John D. Bates. At the end of his prison term, he will be placed on probation for two years.
According to government evidence, between January 2020 and October 2020, Bell PACs sent out solicitations nationwide to over 40,000 recipients. The solicitations promised that individual donations would be “5x matched” by Bell’s PACs. The solicitations also reproduced the appearance of marketing materials used by presidential campaigns, including official logos and slogans. Bell has also created websites to solicit donations with names such as “keepamericagreatcommittee.com”, “Trump2020maga.com” and “bestdayslieaheadcommittee.com”. Fictitious PACs received over $ 346,000 in contributions from individuals and other groups in the months leading up to the 2020 election. However, none of the individual donations were ever “5X matched” by Bell or anyone else. or else. Additionally, Bell made a series of false deposits with the FEC in which Bell claimed its PACs had spent in support of the two presidential campaigns.
During the same period, Bell requested more than $ 1.6 million in PPP loans. For example, one of the Bell companies named “Echo Three LLC”, a Nevada registered company with no employees or payroll, received a PPP loan of $ 485,000 based on Bell’s misrepresentation to the government that the company had 83 employees working at Bell. private residence. In another case, Bell obtained a PPP loan in the amount of $ 492,000 for a company it owned and controlled called “Myson Rules LLC” which had no employees, no payroll, no commercial activity and no business. active business license in the state of Nevada. Bell submitted fabricated tax documents and other company records in support of the five PPP loan applications. He withdrew a request, for $ 521,625, before the loan could be funded.
Bell diverted nearly all of PAC donor funds and taxpayer-funded PPP loans to bank accounts where they could be used for Bell’s personal benefit, mixing the proceeds of fraud and further violating federal laws on the financing of electoral campaigns which require rigorous record keeping for PACs. According to court documents, the government located and seized $ 519,000 of Bell’s proceeds of crime. Bell’s plea agreement demands that Bell reimburse its victims in full and accept the entry of a pecuniary judgment of $ 862,000 against him.
This matter was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Office of the Inspector General of the Small Business Administration of the United States. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John W. Borchert and Elizabeth Aloi continued this case.
On May 17, the Attorney General created the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to mobilize the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with government agencies to strengthen efforts to combat and prevent fraud linked to the pandemic. The Working Group strengthens efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable national and international criminal actors and assists agencies responsible for administering relief programs to prevent fraud, among other methods, by scaling up and integrating mechanisms coordination, identifying resources and techniques for uncovering fraudulent actors and their programs, and sharing and leveraging information and knowledge gained from previous enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Anyone with information about allegations of COVID-19-related fraud can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Control hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF online complaint form at: https: //www.justice. gov / disaster-fraud / ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.