Steve Bannon accused of fraud over Mexican Wall funds

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Reuters

Legend
Mr Bannon was once one of President Trump’s most trusted advisers


Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon has been arrested and charged with fraud in connection with a fundraising campaign to build a wall on the US-Mexico border.

Mr Bannon and three others defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors as part of the ‘We’re Building the Wall’ campaign, which raised $ 25 million (£ 19 million), the US Department of Justice said. Justice (DoJ).

Mr Bannon has received more than $ 1 million, at least part of which was to cover his personal expenses, the DoJ said.

He is due in court later.

The “We’re Building the Wall” campaign pledged to use donations to build segments of the border fence – the construction of which was a key Trump promise in the 2016 election – on private land.

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But Audrey Strauss, the Acting U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), said Mr. Bannon, Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea had “defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding. a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretext that all that money would be spent on construction.

Mr Bannon had received over a million dollars through a nonprofit organization he controlled, at least some of which he used to cover “hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses. de Bannon, ”the DoJ said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kolfage – founder of “We Build the Wall” – secretly took $ 350,000 for his personal use, the statement said.

“While repeatedly assuring donors that Brian Kolfage, the founder and public face of We Build the Wall, would not receive a dime, the defendants secretly attempted to pass hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kolfage, whom he gave. used to finance his lavish lifestyle, ”Ms. Strauss said.

SDNY Inspector Philip R. Bartlett said the four created “dummy invoices and accounts to launder donations and cover up their crimes, showing no respect for the law or the truth.”

The four defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, each carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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