Former Donald Trump campaign strategist Steve Bannon was arrested Thursday and charged with defrauding hundreds of people as part of a group the promised to use private money to build a section of border wall, a signature issue of the president. Prior to the 2016 election and afterwards until Trump fired him, Bannon was a familiar face on cable TV talk shows, defending Trump
Bannon, who helped steer Trump’s campaign then joined him in the White House in 2017 as chief strategist only to be forced out, is accused of pocketing $1 million in the alleged border wall scheme.
The stunning indictment of a top former Trump advisor comes on Day Four of the Democratic convention, when Joe Biden is set to speak.
The group promised donors it was a volunteer effort that would direct all funds toward a crash effort to construct wall without government red tape. In reality, say federal prosecutors in New York, the group’s founders siphoned off funds for themselves.
‘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,’ according to the indictment unsealed in the Southern District of New York Thursday morning.
‘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,’ according to the indictment.
‘In particular, to induce donors to donate to the campaign, KOLFAGE repeatedly and falsely assured the public that he would ‘not take a penny in salary or compensation’ and that ‘100% of the funds raised . . . will be used in the execution of our mission and purpose’ because, as BANNON publicly stated, ‘we’re a volunteer organization.’