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Press Release

Man Sentenced for Maintaining Fictitious Super PAC and Credit Card Fraud

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A New Jersey man was sentenced today to one year and six months in prison for falsifying a report filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and credit card fraud.

According to court documents, in March 2020, Christopher Richardson, 37, formerly of San Antonio, Texas, created an independent, expenditure-only political action committee, or Super PAC, named Americans for Progressive Action USA (AFPA) that used fictitious names for AFPA’s treasurer and designated agent. Richardson then filed a falsified quarterly report with the FEC claiming that AFPA had raised $4.8 million from several fictitious individuals. Several weeks later, he filed a report of expenditures that falsely claimed that the Super PAC spent over $1.5 million to purchase advertisements and media production opposing certain candidates for the U.S. Senate. Richardson filed another FEC report that falsely stated that AFPA refunded the non-existent $4.8 million in donations.

Richardson also used the alias of one of the fictitious donors to AFPA to obtain a credit card, and then used that card to conduct approximately 200 transactions.

Richardson pleaded guilty on Feb. 29 to one count of making a false entry in a record and one count of access device fraud.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia; Assistant Director in Charge David Sundberg of the FBI Washington Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Scott Moffit of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s (TIGTA) Cybercrime Investigations Division made the announcement.

The FBI Washington Field Office and TIGTA Cybercrime Investigations Division investigated the case.

Trial Attorney Ryan R. Crosswell of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Gold for the District of Columbia prosecuted the case, with assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorney Ahmed Baset for the District of Columbia.

Updated June 13, 2024

Topic
Voting and Elections
Press Release Number: 24-756