3 charged with collecting $3.5M for phony political groups
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Three men face federal charges for running two fraudulent political action committees during the 2016 election and collecting $3.5 million from unwitting donors, prosecutors said.
The defendants solicited donations to the Liberty Action Group PAC and Progressive Priorities PAC under the guise that the phony groups were affiliated with candidates for public office, according to a statement from the U.S. Justice Department.
An indictment unsealed last week names Matthew Nelson Tunstall, 34, of Los Angeles, Robert Reyes, Jr., 38, of Hollister, California, and Kyle George Davies, 29, of Austin, Texas. All face multiple charges including wire fraud and conspiracy. Tunstall and Reyes are also charged with money laundering.
It wasn’t immediately known if any of the men have attorneys who could speak on their behalf.
Between January 2016 and April 2017, the defendants allegedly collected contributions “based on false and misleading representations and used those funds to enrich themselves and to pay for additional fraudulent advertisements soliciting donations,” the statement said.
If convicted of all counts, Tunstall and Reyes both face a maximum total penalty of 125 years in prison. Davies faces a maximum of 65 years in prison.