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Steve Bannon, 3 Others Charged with Fraud in We Build the Wall Campaign

Steve Bannon at a fundraiser for “We Build the Wall” in Detroit. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former President Trump adviser Steve Bannon and three others were charged with defrauding donors to a private fundraising campaign ostensibly intended to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Federal prosecutors say Bannon and Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations on personal expenses after insisting that all the contributions would be used to build a wall.

The fundraiser collected more than $25 million.

On Thursday morning, Bannon was arrested on a 150-foot yacht owned by fugitive Chinese billionaire Gun Wehgui.
Bannon pleaded not guilty and was released on bail.

After leaving the federal courthouse, Bannon said, “This entire fiasco is to stop people who want to build the wall,” CNN reports.

Kolfage is accused of using more than $350,000 in donations to pay for a luxury SUV, cosmetic surgery, and jewelry and make payments toward a boat, home renovations, and credit card debt.

Bannon, Kolfage along with Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea, were 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.”


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