Federal prosecutors have charged an 80-year-old California man named John Pierre Dupont with bilking donors out of more than $250,000 by setting up fake websites and political action committees (PACs) falsely purporting to raise money for Texas politician Beto O’Rourke, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, former Tallahassee, Florida mayor Andrew Gillum, and other progressive causes, NBC News reported Tuesday. Authorities say Dupont claimed to be raising money for “roughly 10 individual Senate candidates,” Gillum’s 2018 campaign for governor of Florida, and causes including immigrant aid, NBC wrote. To do so, they alleged, he set up at least three bogus PACs and about 15 websites, including Beto4Senate.org, Sanders2016Campaign.org, GillumForFloridaGovernor.org and ImmigrantChildrenUnited.org. In a press release, prosecutors alleged that the scam ran from 2015 until his arrest in March 2019, during which “None of the money raised went either to those campaigns or to support those candidates whatsoever.” They also say Dupont never reported the donations to the Federal Election Commission as mandated by law, instead using the funds to pay for personal expenses including rent, parking and traffic tickets, and a $25,300 Mercedes-Benz sedan. A criminal complaint on the Department of Justice website says that the scam tricked over 1,000 donors. That document also states that Dupont urged potential donors visiting the “Sanders” website that they should send checks or cash, rather than pay via credit card, because of the “BIG BANKS”: The Sanders Website stated that: “EVERY TIME WE PROCESS YOUR CREDIT CARD DONATION, THE BIG BANKS TAKE UP TO 40%… [Read full story]
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