Former Trump campaign manager and White House adviser Steve Bannon has been arrested along with three others in connection with a shocking fraud scheme, National Review‘s Andrew McCarthy reports.
According to McCarthy, others indicted by the Justice Department included Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage, Bannon associate Andrew Badolato, and Timothy Shea, who was said to have done a lot of the scheme’s heavy lifting.
Bannon and his three associates are facing charges of wire fraud and money laundering for diverting money from their from “We Build the Wall” campaign, which according to McCarthy involved soliciting donations intended to go to the U.S. government to aid in the construction of a wall at the U.S.–Mexico border.
“No regard for the law”
Bannon and his associates could be facing decades in prison if they are convicted, McCarthy reports.
According to McCarthy, Bannon and company were able to raise more than $25 million for their “We Build the Wall” campaign, which reportedly started as a GoFundMe entitled “We the People Build the Wall.”
Bannon and his coconspirators reportedly promised that they were working for the campaign on a volunteer basis and would take no salaries, but according to the Department of Justice (DOJ), money indeed made its way into their pockets.
The four indictments were first announced by the DOJ in a news release Thursday.
“The defendants allegedly engaged in fraud when they misrepresented the true use of donated funds,” inspector-in-charge Philip R. Bartlett said of the indictments, according to the DOJ. “As alleged, not only did they lie to donors, they schemed to hide their misappropriation of funds by creating sham invoices and accounts to launder donations and cover up their crimes, showing no regard for the law or the truth.”
Trump keeps his distance
Bartlett went on: “This case should serve as a warning to other fraudsters that no one is above the law, not even a disabled war veteran or a millionaire political strategist.”
According to National Review, President Donald Trump, long a proponent of a southern border wall, had expressed disapproval of the “We Build the Wall” campaign. In July, the president argued that private citizens shouldn’t have to raise money for a project that should be funded by the government, USA Today reported.
Of course, that didn’t stop Bannon et al. from associating their campaign closely with Trump, even using his likeness and rhetoric to draw in his supporters and their donations.
Looks like Trump was right to show Bannon the door back in 2017.