Former RI congressional candidate to plead guilty of defrauding donors

Former RI congressional candidate to plead guilty of defrauding donors

Russell Taub, a 30-year-old former candidate for United States Congress, refused to talk to reporters Friday as he left federal court, where he announced he will plead guilty to charges he scammed donors out of $1.6 million.

Taub used most of the money for personal expenses, including hotels and air flights, as well as adult entertainment and escorts.

In 2016, he was the Republican challenger to Congressman David Cicilline, losing 35 percent to 65 percent. Even in his own party, he was unpopular.

“The guy’s had sociopathic tendencies since the day I met him — visions of grandeur,” State Republican Party Chairman Brandon Bell told NBC 10. “This guy believed he was this guy who could raise money and roll with the big boys in D.C.”

In fact, he was a successful fundraiser, for a couple of political action committees he invented.

Of the $1.6 million Taub raised, he admitted to taking more than $1 million.

Very little of the money was distributed to candidates and used the name of Rhode Islander and former Navy Secretary William Middendorf in his fundraising please, even though Middendorf asked him to stop.

That particularly upsets Bell.

“Russell Taub took advantage of him in a disgusting and despicable way and I hope he pays the price for it by going to prison for a long time,” Taub said.

Taub has been charged with committing wire fraud and violating the Federal Elections Act. If given the maximum sentence, he could spend 25 years in prison and pay $500,000 in fines.

He is scheduled to go before federal Judge William Smith on March 25 to make his guilty plea.

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