Arizona man pleads guilty to using scam PACs to defraud donors
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An Arizona man pleaded guilty in a federal court in Manhattan Friday to creating six PACs and misrepresenting their activities to potential donors, resulting in tens of thousands of donors being defrauded.

The Justice Department said in a press release that William Tierney, who was arrested and charged along with another family member related to the scheme earlier this year, pleaded guilty this week to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

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Tierney, 46, was arrested along with Robert Tierney, 40, in May and accused of defrauding donors out of more than $23 million by suggesting that the money would go to candidates who supported causes including law enforcement and autism awareness and who opposed abortion.

Just about $109,000 of the millions donated to the PACs actually went to candidates, according to prosecutors.

“William Tierney admitted today that he secretly operated numerous political action committees to obtain small-dollar donations from people who believed their hard-earned money would support the causes described in solicitation calls and mailings," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a news release.

"In reality, the PACs were political action committees in name only, contributing less than 1 percent of the money they raised to candidates for office and instead enriching the defendant, who now faces prison time for his crimes," Berman continued. "This is the first-ever federal prosecution of fraudulent scam PACs, but it won’t be the last.”

Tierney faces a maximum of five years in prison, and has agreed to forfeit and pay restitution in an amount totaling at least $1.4 million, according to the Justice Department. He is scheduled to be sentenced in February 2019.