WASHINGTON, D.C. (KXAN) — An Austin man was one of three people sentenced for charges related to a scheme to solicit millions of dollars in contributions to two political action committees, or PACs, that said the funds would support presidential candidates during and after the 2016 election cycle, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to court documents, from 2016 through at least April 2017, the three men operated two PACs — Liberty Action Group PAC and Progressive Priorities PAC — that solicited contributions from the public through robocalls and radio and internet advertisements, the DOJ said.
The two PACs made it seem like the contributions would be used to support the presidential nominees of the two major political parties, according to the DOJ. Instead, the men used the money on themselves and to fund additional fraudulent solicitations, the release said.
Specifically, the two PACs raised approximately $4 million in contributions during the 2016 election cycle and subsequent months.
The men and their charges/sentencings were identified by the DOJ as follows:
Kyle George Davies, 31, of Austin, on Tuesday, was sentenced to five years of probation. Davies previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to cause false statements to the Federal Election Commission, according to the DOJ.
Robert Reyes Jr., 40, of San Juan Bautista, California, was sentenced to seven years in prison. He previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to cause false statements to the Federal Election Commission and one count of money laundering.
Matthew Nelson Tunstall, 36, of Los Angeles, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Tunstall previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to cause false statements to the Federal Election Commission and one count of money laundering.
The DOJ said to conceal the origin and nature of the money, Tunstall and Reyes instructed a third-party vendor to withdraw approximately $353,000 from the two PACs in excess of the payments for services rendered, then deposit the excess payments into accounts held by shell companies that they controlled.
The FBI San Antonio Field Office Austin Resident Agency investigated the case.