NEW YORK (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Steve Bannon, a former Former White House adviser, has been arrested on charges that he and three others ripped off donors to an online “We Build The Wall” fundraising scheme.
The charges were contained in an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court.
Federal prosecutors alleged 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 in southern Texas and along the border of the United States.
Federal prosecutors allege that Bannon, campaign leader Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea “received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donor funds from We Build the Wall, which they each used in a manner inconsistent with the organization’s public representations.”
The We Build the Wall initiative originally said they would build 3 miles of fence posts in South Texas. In 2019, Kolfage and Fisher successfully constructed a half-mile of the border fence on privately donated land in New Mexico near of El Paso. We Build The Wall used that early construction to fundraise for more cash and more private land donations.
That ‘wall’ was ultimately built — largely funded by Fisher Industries — but quickly showed signs of poor workmanship and erosion.
When questioned about the project in July President Trump said that part of the wall “was only done to make me look bad.”
I disagreed with doing this very small (tiny) section of wall, in a tricky area, by a private group which raised money by ads. It was only done to make me look bad, and perhsps it now doesn’t even work. Should have been built like rest of Wall, 500 plus miles. https://t.co/L8RUPCAhqc
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2020
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.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)