President Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon and three others have been federally charged with defrauding donors of hundreds of thousands of dollars that were raised in support of Trump’s border wall.
CNN reports 66-year-old Bannon was arrested on a boat in Connecticut and will have his first appearance in court in New York on Thursday (Aug 20).
The indictment states the Bannon and the men used hundreds of thousands of dollars of the We Build the Wall campaign for personal experiences and more. The campaign was designed to use “100% of the funds raised” for “execution of our mission and purpose.”
Prosecutors allege over $1 million of the funds were used to secretly pay co-defendant Brian Kolfage and cover Bannon’s personal expenses. The other two defendants include Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea, who along with Kolfage and Bannon are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
“As alleged, the defendants defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction,” Acting Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement. “While repeatedly assuring donors that Brian Kolfage, the founder and public face of We Build the Wall, would not be paid a cent, the defendants secretly schemed to pass hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kolfage, which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle.”