Steve Bannon Indicted In Scheme To Defraud Donors To Border Wall Campaign
CBS News reports that Steve Bannon, a member of the Trump campaign in 2016 and former White House chief strategist, was arrested on Thursday along with three others and “has been indicted along with three others for their roles in defrauding donors related to a $25 million fundraising campaign to build a wall along the southern border.”
Per the report,
Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss said Bannon, Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea were arrested Thursday morning. Bannon, 66, was taken into custody by agents from the U.S. Postal Service, a law enforcement source said, and is set to appear before a federal judge in Manhattan. The indictment was unsealed Thursday morning.
The four men named in Thursday's indictment are accused of defrauding hundreds of thousands of people who donated to the "We Build the Wall" fundraising campaign that raked in more than $25 million to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the indictment.
Federal prosecutors said donors were repeatedly assured that 100% of the money raised would be used to build the wall, but those claims were false. Kolfage, Badolato and Bannon allegedly signed off on those assertions knowing that donors would be encouraged to donate if they believed all funds were going toward wall construction.
Instead, the Justice Department said the men profited from the fundraising scheme. Bannon allegedly received more than $1 million from "We Build the Wall," which was funneled through a non-profit he controlled and some of which was used to cover his personal expenses and pay Kolfage.
According to the indictment, Kolfage, who organized the campaign, received more than $350,000 from money donated to "We Build the Wall," which he then used to pay for "home renovations, payments toward a boat, a luxury SUV, a golf cart, jewelry, cosmetic surgery, personal tax payments and credit card debt."
CBS News said all four “are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, federal prosecutors said. Each carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.”