Former San Antonio man gets 18 months after guilty plea in super PAC scheme

Christopher Richardson, who also went to prison on an earlier bank fraud charge, is accused of falsifying filings to federal campaign finance officials.

click to enlarge U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden has sentenced a one-time San Antonio resident to prison time related to a political fundraising group he established. - Wikimedia Commons / Brian Turner
Wikimedia Commons / Brian Turner
U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden has sentenced a one-time San Antonio resident to prison time related to a political fundraising group he established.
A former San Antonio resident once dubbed "Mini Madoff" for his prior role in a high-profile bank fraud case received an 18-month federal prison sentence Thursday after pleading guilty to credit card fraud and falsifying Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings.

Among other things, federal authorities accused Christopher Richardson, 37, of using made-up names for the treasurer and designated agent of a super PAC — a type of political fundraising organization — he established in 2020 called Americans for Progressive Action USA (AFPA).

Richardson's attorney, Jarrett L. Colby of Washington, D.C, argued that his client created the super PAC to draw attention to health insurance reform after his mother's insurer refused to cover a kidney transplant, according to the Express-News.

Colby also told the daily said his client suffered from mental illness. 

U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden handed down the sentence on Thursday in Washington, D.C. Richardson, who pleaded guilty to the two charges in late February, could have received a total punishment of up to 30 years behind bars, according to Politico.

The U.S. Justice Department alleged in court documents that Richardson, currently a New Jersey resident, falsified multiple FEC filings with regard to AFPA. He's accused of:
  • Filing a quarterly report claiming his super PAC received $4.8 million from fictitious donors.
  • Falsely claiming in paperwork that the organization spent $1.5 million on ad time and media production for political spots.
  • Falsely stating that AFPA refunded the $4.8 million in made-up donations.
Further, the Justice Department alleges Richardson used the alias of one of the nonexistent AFPA donors to obtain a credit card, through which he racked up around 200 transactions.

It's the second time Richardson has been sentenced to prison on white-collar crime charges. .

At age 23, Richardson was sentenced to more than four years in prison on allegations that he scammed his way into $1.2 million in bank loans when he was still a teen so he could support a high-rolling lifestyle, according to the Express-News. He's believed  to be one of the youngest people ever to con a San Antonio bank, the daily also reported.

That alleged con led prosecutors to dub Richardson "Mini Madoff," a reference to Wall Street Ponzi scheme operator Bernie Madoff. 

When Richardson went to prison in his 20s, he was known as Christopher Henry Aragon, according to the Express-News. He currently goes by his last name through marriage.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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