NEW YORK (AP) — Former White House adviser Steve Bannon was arrested Thursday on charges that he and three others ripped off donors to an online fundraising scheme “We Build The Wall.”
The charges were contained in an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court.
Federal prosecutors alleged that Bannon and three others “orchestrated a scheme to defraud hundreds of thousands of donors” in connection with an online crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $25 million to build a wall along the southern border of the United States.
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.”
Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea were also charged with Bannon.
Kolfage 38, of Miramar Beach, Florida, Bannon, 66, of Washington, D.C., Badolato, 56, of Sarasota, Florida, and Shea, 49, of Castle Rock, Colorado, were each 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.
A phone at the office of Bannon’s lawyer went unanswered Thursday morning. A spokeswoman for Bannon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.