Federal authorities say two Arizona brothers fooled donors to at least nine political action committees into giving more than $50 million during the last decade.
William and Robert Tierney are in custody on fraud charges. They were awaiting court appearances Thursday after their arrests in Gilbert, Arizona.
Authorities say they collected $23 million of the total between 2014 and 2017.
Telemarketing centers solicited funds, ostensibly for the anti-abortion movement, law enforcement, autism awareness and other causes. Prosecutors say the defendants were not involved in those causes and donated less than 1 percent of the funds.
Defense lawyers did not immediately respond to comment requests.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman says the brothers mostly raised small-dollar donations from the solicitation calls and mailings.