Indictment alleges several people, including Bannon, the “We Build The Wall” organization to pay for personal and other expenses unrelated to building a wall.
Steve Bannon has been indicted on an alleged private border wall funding scheme through We Build The Wall group.
The announcement from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY alleges:
Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Philip R. Bartlett, Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the United States Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), announced the unsealing of an indictment charging BRIAN KOLFAGE, STEPHEN BANNON, ANDREW BADOLATO, and TIMOTHY SHEA for their roles in defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors in connection with an online crowdfunding campaign known as “We Build the Wall” that raised more than $25 million….
Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “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. 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. We thank the USPIS for their partnership in investigating this case, and we remain dedicated to rooting out and prosecuting fraud wherever we find it.”
2. … In particular, KOLFAGE covertly took more than $350,000 in funds that had been donated to We Build the Wall for his personal use, while BANNON, through a non-profit organization under his control (“Non-Profit-111), received over $1,000,000 fromWe Build the Wall, which BANNON used to, among other things, secretly pay KOLFAGE and to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in BANNON’s personal expenses. To conceal the payments to KOLFAGE from We Build the Wall, KOLFAGE, BANNON, BADOLATO, and SHEA devised a scheme to route those payments from We Build the Wall to KOLFAGE indirectly through Non-Profit-1 and a shell company under SHEA’s control, among other avenues. They did so by using fake invoices and sham “vendor11 arrangements, among other ways, to ensure, as KOLFAGE noted in a text message to BADOLATO, that his pay arrangement remained “confidential11 and kept on a “need to know11 basis.
Bannon was arrested by the U.S. Postal inspectors.
Mr. Bannon was arrested early Thursday on a $35 million, 150-foot yacht that was off the coast of Westbrook, Conn., law enforcement officials said. Working with the Coast Guard, federal postal inspectors and special agents from the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan boarded the vessel, which belonged to the exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui, the officials said.
Trump commented on the charges briefly.
After his former senior adviser Steve Bannon was arrested this morning for allegedly swindling donors on a border wall project run by the non-profit group "We Build the Wall," President Trump distanced himself saying it was "inappropriate" https://t.co/KZv4eDHITi pic.twitter.com/1esnj4TH52
— POLITICO (@politico) August 20, 2020
Needless to say, #NeverTrump world and others who hated Bannon are celebrating, and hoping that Bannon flips on Trump. My big takeaway:
Good to know it's not too late in the election cycle to announce indictments that might impact the election #Bannon cc William Barr, John Durham
— Legal Insurrection (@LegInsurrection) August 20, 2020
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