Steve Bannon Arrested For Fraud

Reopened October 2019 - includes archived threads from pre-2019

Steve Bannon Arrested For Fraud

Postby toucana on August 20th, 2020, 12:26 pm 


Steve Bannon the former presidential adviser to Donald Trump has been arrested and charged, along with three others. They have been indicted by federal prosecutors in Manhattan for mail fraud in connection with a crowdfunding scheme to build sections of the US border wall with Mexico.

Bannon, 66, was arrested on a boat Thursday off the Eastern coast of Connecticut according to a law enforcement official. He will make his initial court appearance in New York later Thursday, according to the US attorney's office. Bill Burck, an attorney for Bannon, declined to comment.

The four men are indicted for allegedly using hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to an online crowdfunding campaign called We Build the Wall for personal expenses, among other things. Bannon and another defendant, Brian Kolfage, promised donors that the campaign, which ultimately raised more than $25 million, was "a volunteer organization" and that "100% of the funds raised...will be used in the execution of our mission and purpose," according to the indictment unsealed Thursday.

But instead, according to prosecutors, Bannon, through a non-profit under his control, used more than $1 million from We Build the Wall to "secretly" pay Kolfage and cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bannon's personal expenses. And Kolfage, according to the charges, used more than $350,000 of the donations for his personal use.

Bannon, Kolfage and the other two defendants, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea, are 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."

The Southern District of New York was recently in the headlines after its Attorney Geoffrey Bermann refused to resign, and was controversially fired by the US Attorney General William Barr in an attempt to decapitate its leadership and install a placeman of Donald Trump’s choosing.

In the resulting furore, leadership of the SDNY went instead to Bermann’s own deputy Audrey Strauss who unsealed today’s indictments in her role as Acting Manhattan US Attorney.
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