(STL.News) – A Texas entrepreneur was sentenced to 36 months in prison today for fraudulently soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions through several scam-PACs that he founded and advertised as supporting candidates for the Office of the President of the United States during the 2016 election cycle.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Special Agent in Charge Christopher H. Combs of the FBI’s San Antonio Division made the announcement.
Kyle Gerald Prall, 40, of Austin, Texas, previously pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew W. Austin of the Western District of Texas. He was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman. In addition to the prison sentence, Prall was ordered to pay $548,428 in restitution and to forfeit $205,496.68 in proceeds obtained from his offense.
According to admissions made in connection with his plea, in 2015 and 2016, Prall created several political committees—including Feel Bern, HC4President and Trump Victory—which he advertised online to solicit contributions purportedly in support of presidential candidates in the 2016 election. Prall advertised that the contributions would be used to support the candidates in various ways, including paying for transportation for voters to the polls; paying for training for volunteers to make phone calls and canvass neighborhoods to support the respective candidates; paying to help voters obtain appropriate identification documents; and making contributions directly to one of the candidates and to other organizations supporting his campaign. In reality, Prall did not intend to, and did not, use the contributions for these purposes and instead transferred much of the money to himself through sham LLC accounts and used the other funds to generate additional contributions to his fraudulent political committees. Specifically, Prall admitted that of the $548,428 in contributions, he transferred $205,496 to himself through sham LLCs that he created for the purpose of moving the money, while contributing less than $5,100 to political causes. Additionally, Prall used the political committees’ debit cards to pay for his personal travel and entertainment expenses, such as travel to Jacksonville, Florida, and Belize; hotel stays in Miami Beach, Florida, and Austin, Texas; and to pay for food, Hookah, alcohol and bottle service, “club dances performed by entertainers,” room service, minibar charges, a deep-tissue massage, and a pet-cleaning fee.
The FBI’s San Antonio Division is investigating the case. Deputy Chief John D. Keller and Trial Attorney James C. Mann of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section are prosecuting the case.