A federal judge in Washington, D.C., sentenced a Las Vegas man on Monday to nearly four years in prison for fraud schemes involving fake political action committees and COVID-19 relief funds, the Justice Department announced.
James Kyle Bell, 44, pleaded guilty in May to one count of wire fraud. U.S. District Judge John Bates sentenced him on Monday to three years and 10 months in prison.
“This prosecution is the first in the District of Columbia involving the creation of scam political action committees,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves said in a statement. “It also is another in a series of prosecutions targeting frauds committed against the COVID relief efforts. The message is clear: along with our law enforcement partners, we will protect the public against fraudsters who seek to line their pockets by exploiting the political process and government programs.”
According to the Justice Department, Bell registered two fake PACs with the Federal Election Commission — the “Keep America Great Committee,” which purportedly supported former President Donald Trump, and the “Best Days Lie Ahead Committee,” which purportedly supported President Joe Biden.
Bell generated at least $346,000 in donations he solicited using email and “online platforms,” according to the department. Bell sent solicitations to more than 40,000 people and defrauded more than 2,000 people who believed they were making donations to a presidential candidate.
The 44-year-old also created multiple shell companies he used to obtain more than $1.1 million in loans from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, which was created to provide Americans financial assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.