An indictment released Thursday stated that Bannon and three others “defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall.”
Former top Trump adviser Steve Bannon was arrested Thursday morning on allegations that he and three others ripped off donors to an online fundraising scheme called “We Build The Wall.” The campaign raised more than $25 million to build a barrier along the southern border of the United States.
The charges were contained in an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court. Timothy Shea of Colorado, Brian Kolfage of Florida, and Andrew Badolato of Florida were also named in the indictment.
All four men are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Each carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
“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 U.S. 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.”
Bannon, a controversial political strategist and former adviser to the president, often butted heads with other administration officials and left the Trump administration in August 2017.
The Associated Press reached out to the office of Bannon’s lawyer and a spokesperson Thursday morning, and had yet to hear back as of press time.