Steve Bannon Charged With Fraud and Money Laundering for Pocketing Border Wall Funds

Other right-wing activists were also charged with defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors.

Former Donald Trump campaign chairman and White House adviser Steve Bannon in Paris, France, last year.Lewis Joly/AP

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Federal prosecutors have charged Steve Bannon and other right-wing activists with defrauding hundreds of thousands of people who donated money to build a private border wall.

In an indictment unsealed Thursday, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York charged Bannon, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and White House adviser, and three others with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. US Postal Service agents arrested Bannon on Thursday, CBS News reported.

Acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement, “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.”

As part of an effort called “We Build the Wall,” the defendants crowdfunded more than $25 million to build a private wall along the border with Mexico. In doing so, they repeatedly assured donors that none of the money would go to the salary of Brian Kolfage, the public face of the campaign.

Instead, Bannon helped secretly pay Kolfage hundreds of thousands of dollars while also taking more than $1 million for himself through a nonprofit, according to the indictment. Kolfage allegedly used his money to pay for, among other things, a golf cart, a boat, and cosmetic surgery.

 

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

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In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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