Stephen Bannon indicted in alleged private border wall funding scheme
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.”
In the Indictment (pdf.), it is alleged, among other things:
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
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.
I have read a comment from a person who claims to have contributed money to this cause. This person says that the purpose of the charity changed, and that contributors were both notified and offered the opportunity to be reimbursed.
Naturally, I have no way to verify an anonymous comment. However, this information, if true, should be readily verifiable by the charity’s records.
Yeah, there’s a couple of big blinking red lights on this story that make me want to know more before clutching the Narrative and declaring “Bannon is a crook!” like the media is hammering.
– Anything with SDNY and Trump automatically makes me skeptical
– Timing it right in the middle of the Dem convention
– Little details like Valerie brought up above
– And a lack of real details from any trustable media source (I.e. not the NY Times, WaPo, etc..) other than happy dances from Trump’s enemies and estimates of how quick the Walls Are Closing In, This Could Be It For Trump, et al…
Considering history since Trump was elected, and the nature of New York, I am going to need to see overwhelming evidence before I believe this has any merit. I sure looks just like Russiagate and impeachment scams.
Based on what’s in the indictment, it looks likely they committed wire fraud. The major thing was publicly stating that Kolfage was not getting paid, and then having a shell corporation pay him looms like it was fraud.
However, with the SDNY’s long standing public hatred of Trump, and anyone associated with him, I do not see how they can run this prosecution without a strong appearance of impropriety and vendetta.
This needs to be handled by a different, neutral DA’s office for it to be credible, regardless of how scrupulous (or not) the SDNY has been. The appearance of a DA out for vengeance is simply too strong.
Trump needs to “pardon” them and fire the prosecutor.
Why hasn’t this prosecutor gone after the Clinton foundation? Hunh?? Hunh??
“Pardon” them and give them a medal for working hard to save America. They deserve it. A gold medal. I’ll contribute.
For SDNY, the process is the punishment
Also true in Western NY.
So, the SDNY goes after Bannon’s little non-profit and ignores the hundreds of millions of dollars that flowed into and out of the Clinton Foundation? I have nothing but contempt for the DOJ.
So Barr has to OK this?
Asking for a friend…
Was this the Build the Wall that the military guy started and built 4 miles and the Dems amd Court got involved?
Yeah, but they kept beating the lawsuits.
The butterfly center, the city of Sunland Park, New Mexico….
Plus the damn people at the what’s it called? International Border and Water Commission, who insists on KEEPING THE GATE OPEN so the illegal can come through during the day on the first wall they built.
Insanity. Disgusting. And speaking of fine Pres. Trump, why hasn’t he fired the woman on the U.S. side because she insists on the gate open. For no damn good reason. It’s all pretext.
Hard to see why they would bother with like shell companies and stuff if what they were doing was legit.
There are legitimate uses for shell companies. When dealing with nasty, well heeled adversaries which have a history of suing someone, commonly known as SLAPP, is a good reason to use one or more shell corporations to make it more difficult for them to get to you.
It’s curious: Bannon is a wealthy man – he didn’t need the money.
But most damning was PDJT’s comments today that he had problems with the organization.
This is probably a process crime.
Makes one look at Barr and wonder what the hell he is doing letting hillary clinton, obama, kerry, pelosi, biden and the rest of the BLANTANT lawbreakers skate.
Hillary, et al aren’t subject to these laws. Some animals are more equal than others.
It has made a JOKE out of our justice system and cost the FBI ALL of its credibility above the field agent level.
The FBI lost that years ago.
There is nothing damning about Trump’s comment.
Trump wants to be re-elected. He’s reacting ridiculously with only that in mind.
They were SUCCESSFUL in building walls on private property, too. He hasn’t been. So he doesn’t want to look bad in comparison. Tough.
Trump was particularly unhappy because We Build the Wall built ON THE BANK OF THE RIO GRANDE RIVER, rather than cutting a straight line near the river. It’s much more expensive to build on the river, but it means landowners on the U.S. side don’t get cut off by the fence.
So any problem with it, he liked, becaue he didn’t like their approach. Well, I liked it, so I don’t give a damn what he thought about it.
The Butterly “center” sued and lost on it. Awwww, poor babies. The center is a little hole in the wall, and dead bodies were being found very close by from time to time. Guess whose dead bodies….
BTW, it’s more expensive to build on the river, because following the river is much longer than just building in a straight line. The river meanders so the length would be multiples of just building in a straight line.
Trumpism crashing and burning on every front. 75 more days of misery, and then a humiliating defeat at the polls.
Crashing and burning? I think you spelled “every democrat city” wrong.
What do you do for a living? Just curious.
He’s making his living right here, trolling from the boiler room.
Perhaps this is an example of the American version 50 cent commenter?
“Stephen Bannon indicted in alleged private border wall funding scheme”
Uh, ok. Now do the money launder scheme Rep. Ilhan Omar(D) uses to funnel one million dollars (so far) of campaign cash to her new husband’s ‘consulting’ firm.
Why do the Democrats get away with everything?
Where the heck is Barr?
Grow some cojones man
I’m cynical enough to think he has something being held over his head. Or, he’s just as big a fraud as any other in Washington.
Barr has gone about as far as he is going to go. He’s already announced he does not want criminal investigations to interfere with the political process. (I think that’s the biggest pile of doo-doo I have heard, but Barr may actually believe it.)
If we get PDJT re-elected, Barr has to ‘step aside’.
Sessions was a complete rat, and Barr may be a 1/2 rat, but ar rat nonetheless.
We’ll see shortly, won’t we.
Follow the same process as usual: wait a few days for more facts to come out. They often do.
Not buying this for a minute. Bannon is a scrupulously honest and ethical businessman. Talk to his former partners in Hollywood. He’s also a distinguished former Naval officer. Filching people is not in his DNA. Beyond that, the NY department of “justice” bureaucracy is notoriously corrupt and politically weaponized.
I agree, anything from NY must be considered BS I till
See NRA, Trump taxes
I gave. I don’t care if it’s true or not. If Go Fund Me made money, so should Kolfage and Bannon.
I will sign a Release to them, any time, day or night.
They are/were doing God’s work. Saving America.
The Clintons posed for pictures with Trump a time or two. No time to investigate any of the Clinton fundraising?
A 150 foot yacht, huh?
With a boat that size you’re hardly even going to see the ocean. Probably has a couple of post boxes on board. Hell, they may have different zip codes.
Something doesn’t add up, that would displace half the water in Long Island Sound.
Amazed they didn’t slap him with an “Un-Woke” charge also.
I contributed to this effort on a fairly regular basis. They have built some very good stretches of Wall where the Corp of Engineers pretended it was too hard or too expensive – including their first project which was literally between a parking lot on the Mexican side and a business on the American side. They have saved America tons of $$ from illegal aliens that didn’t make it in.
I was APPALLED that they said it would go 100% to the Wall. I wanted them to take a cut, just like Go Fund Me did. Especially Brian Kolfage. He owns part of a coffee company, I think it’s https://www.militarygradecoffee.com/. I asked my friends and family to buy coffee from there to get him some money.
They were travelling, making FOIA requests, handling threats, lawsuits, you name it, plus paying for design and construction.
I was further INFURIATED when Trump criticized them a short time ago, claiming they were “just trying to embarass him.” I don’t spend my emotions on politicians, including Trump. I voted for him to return America to Americans, and he’s been hamstrung like crazy as we all know.
So I was THRILLED and still am, to contribute to We Build the Wall. Trump’s attitude is crap. I don’t care who builds the damn thing as long as it is built. Trump can shove it on this. I don’t care who’s embarassed as long as illegal aliens are Stopped. Wake up, Trump. You’re not special; you’re just an employee of We the People. Granted, a pretty good one, nonetheless, you get my point.
And I hope Brian Kolfage and the rest took at least as much as Go Fund Me. At least that much. Multiples of that much!!! I’d be thrilled!
Also, yes, Go Fund Me gave people the ability to opt out because the initial idea that Brian had was to give the $$ raised to the federal government. He then discovered he couldn’t hold them to using it for a wall, so decided to do it himself. So Go Fund Me said you’ve got to get consents from those that have already given. Most gave consent or some ignored it, as I recall.
I gave a bit here and there, and late last year started giving $6 every week, because it’s a big project and they need money coming in regularly. I quit when my biz dried up in late March due to the Chinese virus.
But now I will wholeheartedly give to Kolfage’s et al. legal defense fund.
Also, What the hell is NY doing with a man who lives in Arizona or Florida, building a wall in New Mexico, and Texas?
Have to agree with the professor, this proves the DOJ can indict during election season. Off with Clinton’s, Comey’s, Brennan’s, Clapper’s, Strozk’s, Page’s, heads!!!
Also $5 million bonds for them, and a swat team to arrest them, with FOX News the only news organization at the arrests.
And Trump should pardon them ALL, RIGHT NOW.
THEY WERE DOING GOD’S WORK.
SAVING AMERICA FROM ILLEGAL ALIENS WHO TAKE OUR MONEY, OVERFILL OUR SCHOOLS AND ROADS AND EMERGENCY ROOMS, AND TAKE OUR KIDS’ JOBS.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PARDON THEM.
And fly the Mexican flag. Some jerk was on my street two days ago with a big Mexican flag attached to the back of his truck.
Ungrateful trash. Go home if you like it so much there!
i sent them money because i knew it would drive the democrats crazy if the walls were built on privately owned land and that the owners could get security at the head of the line.
Bannon has always been a bit much. Full credit to him for laying out the complex challenges faced by our Nation from the PRC, the globalist EU, the uniparty elite domestically among others.
Bannon was a valuable herald of the MAGA movement. Bannon, IMO, wasn’t satisfied with his eventual role in the administration. He lasted about 8 months before being shown the door due to consistent in fighting and disruptions.
Charity scams are not new. Sadly most folks don’t investigate the distribution of funds to ‘administration’ v actually spent on the goals. I hope he didn’t stoop to this level, I would not be surprised if he did.
I don’t care if they did. I contributed. I’ll sign a release. They actually built walls when the dems were stopping Trump with every trick in the book.
I’m grateful for everything they have done. I hope they get to do more extremely soon, like next week.
Katy, Just so I don’t misunderstand, you are staying that ‘you don’t care if they did’ commit the crimes for which they have been charged? You are totes ok with wire fraud as long as it’s furthering a cause you support?
Now to be very clear I fully support building a physical wall in and around urban areas on our borders and in the less remote areas. The more inaccessible areas should be aggressively patrolled via horesback, drones sensors and vehicles where practicable. None of that requires wire fraud.
I believe the indictment is inaccurate, first of all. From what I’ve read, they’re accused of misusing funds in that they “represented the money would be given to the federal government to build the wall.” But they figured out quickly that would not work because the federal government wouldn’t be required to build wall with the money. Go Fund Me required them to get everyone to opt back in when they decided to build wall themselves.
They built walls. One in Sunland Park, N.M. and one near the butterfly center in Texas. I forget the town’s name. They have a couple other in progress.
This is like the Red Cross after Katrina. There was a hue and cry that the Red Cross was stashing some of the money and saving it for other disasters instead of giving it all to the Katrina sufferers. Well, I gave to that too, and I understand the Red Cross is at “every” disaster, including apartment fires. Of course they were going to husband their resources.
Here, the men built the wall instead. They told us they were going to do it. No fraud whatsoever. I would like to go see the sections!!! Until today, they were still working on it. I keep up with it.
They said they wouldn’t take a salary. I WANTED THEM TO TAKE MONEY. THEY WERE PROVIDING A VALUABLE SERVICE, AND I’M HAPPY IF THEY TOOK SOME MONEY FOR THEMSELVES. I don’t expect services for free, and I promise federal employees, like these asses in NY are getting paid, as is Fauci while he encourages shutdowns. Give me a break.
I’m a lawyer, but I don’t have law-itis. I believe in justice, not nit-picky details that people only care about if they can screw their opponents.
If they treated dems this way, almost ALL of them in office and Obama would be in jail.
Just a fact. But somehow only republicans, including a vet that’s a triple amputee and still worked to help America, are getting RUINED.
No, not a law-itis addict. NEVER.
They’ve already saved the U.S.A. all the money they raised and probably even more. Just count all the illegals they have prevented from coming in.
There is no new wall here in Texas. The one you refer to ‘near the butterfly center (hildalgo) just got taken down after Texas forced them to submit to a state inspection, finding no section to be sufficient to the cause. All just a big scam. Maybe the one in NM is real? This one was just a way to stick money in already rich pockets.
Katy, I would say that was a round about way of staying you have no problem with wire fraud as long as it’s for a cause that you support.
Obviously you want a wall. I want one as well. The difference in our positions is that I don’t condone the use of illegal means to achieve that goal, while clearly you do support the use of illegality to accomplish your goals.
That is disappointing.
I’m willing to defend our border by going to war. That involves guns, ammo, injuries and possible deaths.
Building the wall is more humane.
I’m disappointed you don’t agree.
Also, I read on Gateway Pundit that the indictment refers to the initial promise to give the $$ to the federal government, instead of using it themselves to build the wall.
The fact is, they found out the government wouldn’t be bound to spend it on the border, so they changed direction.
A perfectly natural thing to do. Who wants to give more money to Leviathan?
You know, if it turns out there is any truth to this, It might explain why we’ve built so little wall over 4 years. Trump should be looking into how this excuses his failure in delivering on campaign promises so no one holds that against him in November.
Get involved in doing good for the country, get destroyed.
Dems play for keeps, we play the suckers.
Yep, message sent and received.
Funny how the Clinton Foundation has NEVER been investigated like this eh? Almost like Democrats have different laws to abuse by.
I donated a bit to the project.
They sent me an e-mail, telling me something… been months.
But the thing is, they told me that if they were to remain in control of my donation, I would have to give them specific permission for them to keep it, or they were sending it back.
I’ll try to find that.