36-year-old Nicholas Jones of Boise used COVID-19 relief funds for personal use and falsified records in a report to the Federal Elections Commission.
BOISE, Idaho — A Boise business owner and 2020 U.S. House of Representatives candidate pleaded guilty to wire fraud and falsifying records in the U.S. District Court of Idaho.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 36-year-old Nicholas Jones used pandemic relief funds for personal use and falsified records in a report to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to conceal thousands of dollars of employees’ in-kind contributions.
Jones received a total of $753,600 in COVID relief funds in 2020 through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), according to court documents.
The money was used for Jones’ personal expenses instead of business expenditures. The relief funds were used for Jones’ car payments, life insurance policies and political advertisements.
The small business owner in Boise also had employees work on behalf of his congressional campaign, promising to pay them their normal wages. The employees were paid, in part, with funds Jones’ received through the PPP loan.
Jones’ committee filed a campaign finance report with the FEC after losing in the primary election.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the report did not include “any in-kind contributions from any entity or individual other than Jones, including the thousands of dollars of in-kind contributions to his campaign in the form of employee time and work.”
Jones faces up to 20 years in prison on each county and will be sentenced at a late date. An investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) led to the charges.
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