Fraudulent PAC operator uncovered by CNN KFile pleads guilty in federal court


A PAC operator first identified by CNN’s KFile admitted Tuesday that while running two political action committees and collecting more than $3 million from unwitting donors during the 2016 election Conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering.

Matthew Tunstall, 35, is one of three men indicted by the Justice Department on multiple counts of wire fraud, false statements and money laundering, perpetuating the scheme, which used robocalls and Written solicitation to trick unsuspecting donors into giving them money, implying they are supporting the 2016 presidential candidate.

In effect, the operators of the PACs used the funds to enrich themselves and pay for more robocalls and radio ads, according to the DOJ and past KFile reports.

Tunstall pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and cause the PAC to make false statements to the Federal Election Commission, and one count of money laundering. He now faces up to 25 years in prison, with his sentence set to be determined by a federal district court judge next year, according to a Justice Department news release.

PAC activity was first discovered by KFile in 2016 and 2017, first at BuzzFeed and then CNN. Robert Reyes, charged with Tunstall, pleaded guilty in September, and Kyle Davies pleaded guilty in April.They will both face sentencing next year

The guilty plea ends the saga of Tunstall’s scam political action committee, which he first began operating in 2016 under the name Liberty Action Group, ostensibly a group supporting then-candidate Donald Trump, and the Progressive Priorities PAC — a supportive Senators and groups of senators. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and later opponents of Trump’s presidency.

Since the 1940s, political action committees – PACs – have been used to pool donations in support of a candidate or cause. In recent years, there have been more so-called “scam PACs”—PACs that primarily seek to raise money to enrich the PAC’s own operators, rather than engage in the politics they claim to support.

According to experts, the case is one of the few PAC fraud cases the Justice Department prosecutes each year. Notably, the DOJ charged the perpetrators not with campaign finance crimes, but with multiple counts of wire fraud, money laundering and misrepresentation.

CNN’s KFile team has documented in detail Tunstall’s ongoing activities over the years, and he was the subject of a 2021 CNN KFile investigation that revealed he was living in Los Angeles under the pseudonym “Matte Nox” while simultaneously running two different scam PACs.

Under the name Nox, Tunstall claims to be an “award-winning writer” and “executive producer,” according to an online bio. On his LinkedIn account, he describes himself as an investor in “female-led businesses,” including a modeling agency and a beauty company that sells face masks.

Knox flaunts his lavish lifestyle on his public Instagram and TikTok accounts, sporting a crystal-encrusted Gucci ring, Yves Saint Laurent sunglasses and a handmade hat bearing his name.

His public Instagram stories show him driving around Los Angeles at night in a black Porsche Panamera, often to the soundtrack of club music. He lives in a luxury high-rise apartment downtown and posts videos of him partying with aspiring models at nightclubs.

His shirtless selfie shows off a prominent chest tattoo that reads ‘God will give me justice’.

“You don’t need a purpose in your life, just money,” Knox wrote in a post.

Shortly after being indicted last year, Tunstall moved on to another campaign using a different PAC — including pledging a donation of at least $35 to get a Trump Christmas card.

He also continues to promote himself as a music artist, releasing an electronic dance single in July and posting frequently on social media.

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