The Justice Department on Wednesday accused three political operatives of running a scheme to mislead donors and enrich themselves, charging the men with defrauding people of $3.5 million in 2016 and 2017.
The allegations involve two political action committees and include wire fraud, money laundering and making false statements to the Federal Election Commission. It was the latest indictment against operatives who raise money for what are known as scam PACs, which direct much of the proceeds back to the people who run them.
One of the three men charged, Matthew Tunstall, 34, of Los Angeles, has drawn scrutiny for years over the activities of his political action committees, which he has continued to operate. This year, CNN reported on the lavish lifestyle of Mr. Tunstall, who poses as an internet influencer under the name Matte Nox, flashing Gucci rings, wearing designer accessories and driving a black Porsche.
In social media photos, Mr. Tunstall sometimes appears shirtless, exposing a tattoo on his chest that reads “God Will Give Me Justice.”
On Wednesday, the Justice Department said that the two PACs linked to Mr. Tunstall had spent heavily to recruit small donors under false and misleading pretenses, including through robocalls that impersonated President Donald J. Trump.
The indictment, which also includes Robert Reyes Jr., 38, of Hollister, Calif., and Kyle George Davies, 29, of Austin, Texas, accused the operatives of defrauding donors through two entities, Liberty…