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Convicted scammer creates federal PACs from prison

In other words, the FEC can’t really do much to shut down these groups, even if they do have the mailing address of a state prison, as is the case with Pesce’s PAC.

(Update: 10:51 a.m., April 7, 2017: The FEC on April 6 sent Pesce a letter asking him to verify the accuracy of his “Impeach the Assole” PAC filing. The letter reminds Pesce that it’s illegal to “knowingly and willfully” make a “materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation to a federal government agency” and asks him either verify the accuracy of his PAC filing, amend any false information or withdraw the filing. Pesce has until May 6 to respond.)

In 2004, Pesce stole $93,534 from a woman by falsely presenting himself as a commodities trader, according to a DuPage County, Illinois, press release. Pesce pleaded guilty to theft by deception but fled before he was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison.

Police arrested Pesce in 2014. He began serving his sentence in Taylorville in 2015, according to Illinois Department of Corrections records.

Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Nicole Wilson said inmates are permitted to receive money electronically. And while Illinois corrections law prohibits inmates from “engaging in an unauthorized business venture,” it’s silent on the specific issue of inmates forming political committees.

Pesce “would be wholly responsible for complying with any laws and regulations governing political action committees,” Wilson said.

One potential problem for Pesce: the banking address he lists for one of his PACs does not correspond to that of a bank at all. Instead, it’s a Motel 6 in suburban Chicago.

The FEC forms he submitted included a notice that PAC filings with “false, erroneous, or incomplete information” are subject to civil and/or criminal penalties.

This article was co-published by TIME, NBC News, Public Radio International, the Buffalo News and Philly.com.

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