A Las Vegas fraudster was sentenced Monday to four years behind bars after he allegedly ran a scam through phony PACs for Joe Biden and Donald Trump during the 2020 election.
James Kyle Bell, 44, allegedly raised at least $346,000 for the supposedly pro-Trump “Keep America Great” PAC and the phoney Biden-backing “Best Days Lie Ahead” PAC, both groups which he registered with the Federal Election Commission, according to the Department of Justice.
Between January and October of 2020, Bell’s PACs solicited around 40,000 people and raised at least $346,000. Bell’s PACs falsely promised to provide a five times match for each donation, according to the Justice Department. During the same timeframe, Bell was also conducting a financial pandemic relief scheme, from which he generated more than $1.1 million.
Bell applied for more than $1.6 million via four separate loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) using fictitious companies. One of the claims Bell made was that he had a company that employed 83 people at his private residence. Bell was granted a PPP loan of $485,000 to financially assist the company, which had no employees and no payroll.
Authorities said Bell diverted the funds he received to a bank account for his own personal benefit, which violates campaign finance laws. As part of his sentencing, Bell was ordered to forfeit or pay back nearly $1.4 million in cash and assets.
“Lying to gain access to SBA’s pandemic response programs is not without consequence,” said Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite of the SBA’s Office of Inspector General, Eastern Region.Bell pleaded guilty in May 2021 to one count of wire fraud.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: LA TIMES
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