Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, has been arrested. Bannon, along with leaders Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato, and Timothy Shea of the “We Build the Wall” campaign, is charged with defrauding donors. The men were indicted by the U.S. Southern District of New York Thursday.
The organizations’s leaders are alleged to have funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars towards personal use among other uses. “We Build the Wall” raised more than $25 million to ostensibly build a wall along the southern border of the U.S. However, prosecutors allege much of the funds were misused in a defrauding scheme.
"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 U.S. 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."
"This case should serve as a warning to other fraudsters that no one is above the law, not even a disabled war veteran or a millionaire political strategist," said Inspector-in-Charge Philip R. Bartlett.
Each defendant was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Steve Bannon served as Trump’s chief strategist during the first seven months of Trump’s term. He co-founded Breitbart News, a far-right website which has published a number of conspiracy theories and misleading stories. Bannon is 67 years old.