Two Arizona men were charged Thursday in Manhattan with ripping off more than $23 million from small donors to a chain of “scam PACs” that claimed to be using their political contributions for anti-abortion, autism awareness and law enforcement causes.
William Tierney, 46, and Robert Tierney, 40, were due to be arraigned in Arizona on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy for raising money through their shady political action committees from 2014 to 2018 and diverting at least $3.5 million to themselves.
A criminal complaint said “tens of thousands” of donors to nine PACs were defrauded by promises that their money would be used for “coast-to-coast” voter education and political campaigns that would “invest every penny … in the big races to come.”
In fact, prosecutors said, virtually all of the money went to the promoters of the scheme, or to telemarketing, fundraising and overhead through a series of shell entities that had no employees and served only to funnel the money into improper purposes.
The PACs included Grassroots Awareness PAC, Americans for Law Enforcement PAC, National Campaign PAC, Voter Education PAC, Action Coalition PAC, Protect Our Future PAC, Life and Liberty PAC, Republican Majority PAC, and RightMarch.com PAC.
Only $109,000 — less than one percent of the money raised went to political contributions, the government said.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman is scheduled to announce the charges at a teleconference Thursday afternoon.