A GOP congressional candidate used Covid relief funds meant for his employees to pay for his car and political campaign

  • A GOP congressional candidate pleaded guilty to misusing Covid relief funds meant for his employees.

  • He told employees at his small business that they would get paid if they worked for his campaign.

  • The Idaho candidate also omitted the time his employees put into his campaign in an FEC report.

A GOP congressional candidate in Idaho pleaded guilty on Wednesday to taking COVID-19 relief funds meant for his employees and using them for personal expenses like his car payments and a 2020 political campaign.

According to the Department of Justice, Nicholas Jones, 36, also pleaded guilty to falsifying records to conceal the time and work his employees put into his campaign in a report to the Federal Elections Commission.

Insider understands that Jones' small business in Boise, Idaho, is a store selling puzzles and tabletop and board games.

Jones told employees who worked at his store that he would pay them if they worked on his congressional campaign, the DOJ wrote in a press release.

In 2020, he applied for and received $753,600 from Covid-related assistance packages such as the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

He certified that the money would be put into his business but instead used a "significant portion" to pay for his car, life insurance policies, and political ads for his campaign, per the DOJ.

Jones' employees would show up to work on behalf of his campaign and were paid thousands of dollars in wages through his small business, partially with the money he received from the Covid relief packages, the department wrote.

When he lost the primary election, Jones filed a campaign finance report with the FEC. However, he omitted the contributions of anyone who worked on his campaign other than him, including the thousands of dollars worth of time and work that his employees spent, according to the DOJ.

Jones pleaded guilty to wire fraud and falsification of records in the District Court of Idaho and will be sentenced at a later date. He faces a maximum total sentence of 40 years in prison.

Jones did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

Jones' case isn't the first time that fraud and politics have crossed paths this year. On May 18, the creator of a fake political action committee admitted in federal court that he scammed donors by pretending to support former President Donald Trump's reelection and be a part of his campaign, as Insider's Grace Panetta reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider