WASHINGTON – James Kyle Bell, 44, of Las Vegas, Nevada, pleaded guilty today to one count of wire fraud in federal court in the District of Columbia.
As he admitted when entering his guilty plea, Bell created two Political Action Committees (PACs) that operated during the 2020 election cycle: the Great America Great Committee (“KAGC”), which reportedly supported the re-election of Donald Trump, and the Best Days Lie Ahead Committee (“BDLAC”), which would have supported the candidacy of Joe Biden. Both PACs registered with the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) as independent expenditure committees only under section 527. These committees are often referred to as “527 groups” or “Super PAC”.
Between January 2020 and October 2020, Bell PACs sent out solicitations nationwide to more than 40,000 recipients. The solicitations promised that individual donations would be “equal to 5 times” by Bell’s PACs. The solicitations also reproduced the look and feel of the marketing materials used by presidential campaigns, including official logos and slogans. Bell has also set up websites to solicit donations under names such as “keepamericagreatcommittee.com”, “trump2020maga.com” and “bestdayslieaheadcommittee.com”. KAGC and BDLAC received as much as $ 346,000 in contributions from individuals and other groups in the months leading up to the 2020 election. However, none of the individual donations have ever been “equaled 5 times” by Bell or anyone. And Bell made a series of fake deposits with the FEC in which Bell claimed its PACs had spent in support of the two presidential campaigns.
Court documents also indicate that during the same period, Bell requested more than $ 1.6 million in loans from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) on behalf of five companies. screens that Bell owned and controlled. For example, one of the Bell companies named “Echo Three LLC”, a Nevada registered company with no employees and no payroll, received a PPP loan of $ 485,000 based on false statements by Bell to the government that the company had 83 employees working in the private sector of Bell. residence. In another case, Bell obtained a PPP loan in the amount of $ 492,000 for a company he owned and controlled, called “Myson Rules LLC”, which had no employees, no payroll, no commercial activity. and no 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.
Bell diverted nearly all funds from donor PACs and taxpayer-backed PPP loans to bank accounts where they could be used for Bell’s personal benefit, combining the proceeds of fraud and further violating federal laws on corporate funding. election campaigns with 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 make full restitution to his victims and accept the entry of a pecuniary judgment of $ 862,000 against him.
“The First Amendment protects everyone’s right to express and promote their views by giving to political committees,” Acting US Attorney Channing D. Phillips said. “My office and the Department of Justice are committed to protecting this important right – citizens have the right to be confident that their political contributions will be spent to support the candidates and the causes for which they are intended.” Phillips continued, “We are also committed to protecting the Paycheck Protection Program and other government programs from fraud aimed at mitigating the crippling economic effects of the pandemic. Today’s guilty plea sends a clear message that my office and the Department of Justice will not tolerate fraudsters who line their pockets by exploiting the political goodwill of our citizens or the benefits granted under the programs. government.
Bell pleaded guilty before United States District Judge John D. Bates to one count of wire fraud. The maximum penalty for this offense is twenty years imprisonment and a fine of up to $ 250,000 or double the pecuniary gain or loss arising from the offense. Sentencing in this case is scheduled for October 8.
This matter is currently under investigation by the Washington Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Small Business Administration, Office of the Inspector General. Deputy US attorneys John W. Borchert, Fraud Section, and Elizabeth Aloi, Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section, are pursuing the case.