A Las Vegas telemarketer was arrested Thursday for allegedly defrauding donors of millions of dollars.
Richard Zeitlin, 53, is accused of lying to donors about how their money would be spent. He allegedly told them that their donations would go to direct-services organizations or charities, but instead the money went to political action committees (PACs).
Zeitlin was arrested in Las Vegas, while his co-defendant, Robert Piaro, was taken into custody in Fredonia, Wisconsin.
Prosecutors say that Zeitlin and Piaro used a telemarketing call center business to solicit donations from people across the country. They allegedly told donors that their money would be used to help veterans, law enforcement officers, and people with breast cancer.
However, prosecutors say that Zeitlin and Piaro actually used the money to fund their own political campaigns. They also say that Zeitlin directed employees to delete electronic messages related to the business when he learned that he was under investigation.
Zeitlin is charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice. The wire fraud counts each carry up to 30 years in prison, while the obstruction charges could bring sentences of up to 20 years.
Piaro is also charged with one count each of wire fraud and mail fraud.