By ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — Steve Bannon has been federally indicted for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering in connection to a crowdfunding campaign to build a border wall.
Bannon, who was President Donald Trump’s former campaign boss, was arrested this morning in Washington, D.C. on charges he and others allegedly made false representations about the “We Build the Wall campaign.”
Bannon, 66, who was arrested this morning, is expected to appear in court virtually on Thursday.
Prosecutors said Bannon and others defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors to the online campaign by falsely assuring them the organizers were not taking a penny of donation money — Bannon had publicly stated, “we’re a volunteer organization.”
“Those representations were false,” the indictment said.
According to the indictment, Bannon took at least $1 million to pay personal expenses.
Bannon, Brian Koflage, 38, of Mirimar Beach, Florida, Andrew Badolato, 56, of Sarasota, Florida, and Timothy 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 charge carries a maximum of 20 years in prison.
The defendants allegedly defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors in connection with the crowdfunding campaign, which raised more than $25 million.
The indictment was brought by prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
“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 press release. “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.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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