Campaign Contributions

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Nicholas Jones is not the first fraudster to run for political office. But he might be the first one to use COVID-19 pandemic aid to fund his campaign! Apparently, this is exactly what he did upon receiving his funds from a Paycheck Protection Program loan he received for his business. Jones was the founder of the Good Burger franchise. He applied for and received funding, totaling $753,600, through the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans. But, despite certifying that those funds would only be used for business-related expenditures, Jones used a significant portion of the funds to spearhead his campaign for U.S. House of Representatives. Not the first politician to lie!

Jones told employees of his burger business that they could continue to be paid their normal wages if they worked on his congressional campaign. Not the first politician to coerce others either! Burger employees reported to work on behalf of Jones’s congressional campaign and were paid thousands of dollars in wages with the funds from his PPP loan.

After Jones lost the primary race, Jones had his campaign committee file a campaign finance report with the FEC, which omitted any in-kind contributions. Such as the work done by his hamburger joint employees. Not the first politician to omit! Seems like Jones is a natural politician. But these omissions caught the eye of the federal court. Jones pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court of Idaho to felonies of wire fraud and falsification of records. On January 8, 2023, Boise was sentenced to 30 months in prison and restitution along with a fine of $100,000.

Shout out to the FBI for the investigation in this case.

Today’s Fraud of the Day is based on an article “Judge factors in ex-Idaho congressional candidate’s mental health at fraud sentencing” published by Idaho States Man on January 8, 2023

A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced a former Idaho congressional candidate to more than two years in prison for wire fraud, but admitted to struggling with how to factor in mental health concerns raised by the defendant’s legal team. “This case rocked me to my core,” Chief U.S. District Judge David Nye said in court. “I have found myself swinging like a pendulum between a severe sentence and a light sentence.”

Nicholas Jones, 36, founder of the Good Burger franchise and U.S. Rep. Russ Fulcher’s opponent in the 2020 Republican primary election for a House seat, pleaded guilty to wire fraud after using COVID-19 funds for personal use and to falsifying records to conceal over $20,000 in in-kind contributions, the Idaho Statesman previously reported.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.