Two men, including one from Los Angeles and one from San Juan Bautista, have been sentenced to federal prison for soliciting millions of dollars in contributions to fake political action committees.
Matthew Nelson Tunstall, 36, of downtown Los Angeles, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. He previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to cause false statements to the Federal Election Commission as well as one count of money laundering.
40-year-old San Juan Bautista native Robert Reyes Jr. was sentenced to seven years in federal prison. Reyes Jr. pleaded guilty to the same charges as Tunstall.
The third man to be sentenced was 31-year-old Kyle George Davies of Austin, Texas. Davies was sentenced to five years of probation after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to cause false statements to the Federal Election Commission.
According to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Tunstall, Reyes Jr. and Davies operated two political action committees – Liberty Action Group PAC and Progressive Priorities PAC – between 2016 through at least April 2017.
The two PACs solicited contributions from the public via robocalls and radio and internet advertising and told contributors that the contributions would be used to support the presidential nominees of the two major political parties.
“Instead, the co-conspirators used the funds to enrich themselves and to fund additional fraudulent solicitations,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “Specifically, the two PACs raised approximately $4 million in contributions during the 2016 election cycle and subsequent months.”
In addition, Tunstall and Reyes Jr. instructed a third-party vendor to withdraw nearly $353,000 from the two PACs in excess for the payments rendered and then deposit the excess payments into accounts held by shell companies that the two controlled, according to the DOJ.