The organizer behind the Keep America Great Again Committee has been charged with wire fraud for allegedly using the super PAC to bilk Donald Trump supporters out of $250,000.
Nevada resident James Kyle Bell also filed fraudulent applications for COVID-19 relief funds through the Paycheck Protection Program, according to the charging document against him, which was first reported Friday by HuffPost. Four of Bell’s companies received more than $1 million from the scheme, prosecutors stated in the document filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.
Bell also set up the PAC called The Best Days Lie Ahead to allegedly pocket an additional $100,000 he claimed to be raising to support Joe Biden, according to the charges.
Bell established the Keep American Great Again Committee in January 2020 and registered it with the Federal Election Commission purportedly to raise funds for Trump’s reelection campaign. The super PAC mimicked ads from legitimate websites for Trump campaigns and committees, The Daily Beast first reported last year. It even included the official Trump campaign logo, according to authorities.
But none of the money “went to any candidate, party or committee,” according to the case against Bell. One email solicitation went to 4,200 Trump supporters, according to prosecutors. Donations then went directly into a bank account established and operated by Bell. The operation was shut down late last year by the FBI.
Bell obtained PPP money using false statements about about five companies’ operations, including fake statements to the Internal Revenue Service that “had never been filed,” according to the court document.
Bell claimed that three of the companies each had an annual payroll of over $2 million with more than 200 employees, when “in fact those companies combined had at most six employees with far less in income,” prosecutors said. He “diverted” about $1 million he obtained “for his personal use and benefit,” according to the charging document.
In addition to the charges, authorities have ordered Bell to forfeit more than $524,000 in funds from his bank accounts and a monetary judgment of more than $862,000.
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