Scam artist who ripped off Bernie Sanders supporters convicted on federal fraud charges

‘James Bond’ actor Daniel Craig is among those Cary Lee Peterson duped in a separate scheme

By

 Updated:

Cary Lee Peterson during a February 2016 trip to Micronesia.

Facebook

A man who used a super PAC to seemingly scam “James Bond” actor Daniel Craig out of nearly $50,000 was convicted Wednesday for separately orchestrating a multimillion-dollar security fraud scheme.

A federal jury in New Jersey found Cary Lee Peterson, 38, of Phoenix, guilty on three charges: two counts of false certification in Securities and Exchange Commission filings and one count of securities fraud. Peterson was the focus of a 2015 Center for Public Integrity investigation that exposed his fraught business and political dealings.  

Peterson lied about $1.9 billion in foreign green energy contracts and his nonprofit’s affiliation with the United Nations, according to the federal government’s complaint against him. He also fabricated the finances and projected profits of his company, RVPlus Inc., and posed as a fake investor on message boards.

Peterson, who has not yet been sentenced, could face decades in prison and millions of dollars in fines, according to federal sentencing guidelines. He is also facing a pending SEC civil complaint in federal court that carries multiple allegations of securities fraud.

In 2015, Peterson launched a super PAC called Americans Socially United to purportedly support Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who disavowed super PACs.

Peterson’s super PAC raised about $90,000, according to Federal Election Commission filings. Among its donors: Craig, the actor, who gave $47,300. At the time, Craig told the Center for Public Integrity he had made his super PAC contribution in “good faith” and had “no evidence to question that my donation has not been used as intended.”

Craig added: “Should that situation occur, then clearly, I will review my position.”

Peterson’s mandatory financial reports were riddled with errors, and the FEC fined the super PAC $7,150 for violating reporting requirements. Peterson has yet to pay these fines, and the FEC, which has limited power to make Peterson pay, is unlikely to ever see the money.

Kenneth Pennington, former digital director for Bernie Sanders, said today he was surprised to see the news about Peterson.


“Scam PAC runners almost never get punished,” Pennington tweeted. “This man ran a craven, fraudulent super PAC effort targeting vulnerable populations and taking their money under the guise of supporting Bernie’s campaign. Worth noting he was NOT held accountable for his scam PAC, but for his other illegal fraud schemes.”  

Peterson continued to play politics even after FBI agents arrested him in March 2016.  

Days after being released from jail for the securities fraud scheme in June 2016, Peterson wasted no time registering two new groups with the FEC: the Alliance Against Disabled Inmate Abuse and a nominally pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC called Democrats Socially United.


READ MORE: 

Did this shady pro-Bernie Sanders super PAC just dupe James Bond?

Is 'dark money' boosting Bernie Sanders?

Pro-Bernie Sanders super PAC leader charged with fraud

Care about freedom of the press? Support independent investigative journalism.

Donate now
Donate now