October 28, 2021

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Creator of Pro-Trump scam PAC charged with PPP fraud: prosecutors – Business Insider

2 min read
  • 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.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

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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