WASHINGTON (WJZ) — An Annapolis political consultant has pleaded guilty to wire fraud in a scheme to scam donors out of millions of dollars for political causes.
Kelley Rogers, 55, pleaded guilty to a single county of wire fraud in front of a Virginia judge Tuesday.
The justice department said Rogers ran multiple political action committees from 2012 to 2018, soliciting money from the general public for a number of causes, including to support a gubernatorial candidate and a candidate for Virginia Attorney General.
Among the scam PACs he ran were Conservative StrikeForce, Conservative Majority Fund and Tea Party Majority Fund.
Rogers reportedly told donors the money would be used to help military veterans as well as for get-out-the-vote efforts and to hire lawyers to ensure election integrity. None of that money was ever spent on those efforts, the justice department said. Instead, it was spent on Rogers, his associates and the PACs to collect even more contributions.
He also admitted to taking part in a scheme to use “straw donors” to exceed individual contribution efforts for a congressional candidate’s campaign.
Documents filed with the Federal Election Commission in July show Conservative StrikeForce had no cash on hand and more than $136,000 of debt. The Conservative Majority Fund reportedly had nearly $29,000 in cash on hand as of June 30 but more than $30,000 in debt.
In its mid-year report, the Tea Party Majority Fund reported having just under $38,000 in cash on hand and more than $32,000 in obligations owed to others.
As part of his plea, Rogers will have to pay more than $491,000 in restitution and forfeit nearly $209,000 more, the justice department said.
Sentencing is set for January 17.