Creator of a scam PAC that targeted Trump supporters has been charged with defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program

MAGA hats
“Make America Great Again” set of hats await purchase outside the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Miss., Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, before a Keep America Great Rally.

  • Prosecutors have charged the creator of a pro-Trump scam PAC with wire fraud.
  • Authorities say James Kyle Bell defrauded the Paycheck Protection Program of over $1 million.
  • The websites for Bell’s Keep America Great PAC were seized and taken down by the FBI in 2020.
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Federal prosecutors have charged the creator of a political action committee that scammed donors by purporting to be supporting President Donald Trump’s reelection with wire fraud for defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program.

In a charging document filed in the US District Court for the District of Columba and first reported by the Huffington Post, prosecutors say James Kyle Bell, a Nevada man, created the Keep America Great PAC and registered it with the Federal Election Commission to defraud donors by mimicking the Trump campaign, down to using the exact language in Facebook and Google ads and promising non-existent matching funds.

Read more: Washington moves of the week: Hoosiers in DC landed big jobs this week, a sign of the sprawling networks of Mike Pence and Pete Buttigieg

The Daily Beast reported in October 2020 that the FBI had seized and taken down the “keepamericagreatagain.com” website and domain, which authorities say improperly lifted copyrighted material and source code from the Trump campaign itself, including its logo, and another PAC.

The Beast said that even as scam PACs go, Keep America Great was “brazen” in its efforts to swindle people who thought they were giving money to the Trump campaign or a PAC, with even Google and Facebook cracking down on their digital ads. In all, prosecutors found, Keep America Great brought in over $246,000 from donors over the course of 2020.

Prosecutors further say that Bell then applied for business loans through the Paycheck Protection Program on behalf of five separate companies, an effort that involved submitting falsified information and even “fictitious tax forms” to defraud the program.

“For example, Bell claimed that three of the companies each had an annual payroll over $2 million with more than 200 employees, when in fact those companies combined had at most six employees with far less in payroll expenses.

Bell ultimately ended up receiving a total of $1,139,836 in PPP loans for four of his companies, which prosecutors then say he diverted to put towards personal expenses and padding Keep America Great’s coffers, where he “co-mingled the PPP loan proceeds with donations to KAGC,” the charging document said.

On top of Keep America Great, prosecutors say Bell also created a less lucrative pro-Biden scam PAC, the Best Days Lie Ahead Committee, which ended up bringing around $100,000 from online donors.

In addition to the charges, authorities have also ordered Bell to forfeit over $524,000 in funds from his bank accounts and an over $862,000 money judgement.

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‘Kill him with his own gun’: DC police officer recounts being attacked by pro-Trump mob at the US Capitol

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Flowers are placed on a fence, a week after a pro-Trump mob broke into and took over the Capitol, in memory of slain Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick on January 14, 2021, in Washington, DC. – The center of Washington was on lockdown Thursday as more than 20,000 armed National Guard troops were being mobilized due to security concerns ahead of the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden.

  • Michael Fanone, a police officer in Washington, DC, said he was attacked by a pro-Trump mob during the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.
  • Fanone, who suffered a mild heart attack, told The Washington Post that he was dragged down the Capitol steps, shot with a stun gun, and struggled to retain consciousness.
  • “We got one!” Fanone claimed rioters shouted. “Kill him with his own gun!”
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The pro-Trump mob that attacked the US Capitol on January 6 killed one police officer, with another committing suicide soon after. But the death toll could have been higher, with one cop telling The Washington Post that the rioters wanted to kill him, too.

“We got one!” Michael Fanone, a DC Metro Police Officer, said the crowd yelled after he was dragged down the steps of the Capitol, hit with a stun gun, and suffered a mild heart attack. “Kill him with his own gun!”

In an interview with The Post published Thursday, Fanone said he rushed to the Capitol after hearing dispatchers declare an emergency.

When he got there, he realized law enforcement was severely outnumbered.

“We were battling 15,000 people,” he said. “It looked like a medieval battle scene.”

According to The Post, Fanone barely survived that battle. One rioter grabbed his helmet and dragged him down the stems where others swarmed over him, attacking Fanone and another officer with metal pipes and a flag pole amid chants of “USA.”

In total, nearly five dozen DC police officers were wounded by rioters during the insurrection, according to The Post.

“They were overthrowing the Capitol, the seat of democracy,” Fanone commented.

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Expanded Coverage Module: capitol-siege-module

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Fox News anchor called Trump supporters breaching US Capitol ‘a huge victory for these protesters’

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Protesters interact with Capitol Police inside the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump.

  • Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum called the rioters who broke into Capitol Hill Wednesday “a huge victory for these protesters.”
  • Thousands of Trump supporters gathered in Washington, DC to protest the Electoral College vote to certification. 
  • But the electoral vote certification debate was halted after rioters breached security, causing all Capitol buildings to be put on lockdown. 
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Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum called Trump supporters who breached police barricades and caused a lockdown at the US Capitol Wednesday “a huge victory for these protesters.”

“They have disputed the system in an enormous way,” MacCallum said referring to the rioters, who halted the electoral vote certification debate,  left multiple officers injured

 

Thousands of supporters gathered in Washington, DC for the “March for Trump” demonstration on Wednesday morning to rally against Congress as they debate the 2020 general election results after weeks of the president’s baseless claims stating that he won. 

Videos captured protesters’ standoff with law enforcement and rioters rushing into the Capitol building prompting immediate evacuation for lawmakers and reporters. Other representatives were asked to shelter in place. 

 

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a 6p.m citywide curfew until Thursday morning.

“Durin the hours of the curfew, no person, other than persons designated by the Mayor shall walk, bike, run, loiter, stand, or motor by ar or other transports upon any street, alley, park or other public place within the District,”  Bowser said in a statement. 

Trump, who spoke at the rally before Congress convened, eventually called for his supporters to “remain peaceful,” but officials called for a stronger denouncement of the rioters. 

“No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the law and our great men and woman in Blue. Thank you!.”

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