MSN.com By Matt Zapotosky Thurs., Aug.20, 2020
Federal prosecutors in New York on Thursday unsealed criminal charges against Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, and three other men they alleged defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors using an online crowdfunding campaign that was advertised as raising money to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.
In a news release, prosecutors said Bannon and another organizer of the campaign, Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage, claimed that they would not take any compensation as part of the campaign, called “We Build The Wall,” but that was a lie. Bannon, prosecutors alleged, received more than $1 million through a non-profit he controlled, and Kolfage received more than $350,000.
Prosecutors alleged they and two others routed payments from the campaign through the non-profit and another shell company and disguised them with fake invoices to help keep their personal pay secret.
All four were arrested Thursday and are expected to make court appearances later in the day. They are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering.
Bannon served on Trump’s presidential campaign, and then as the White House chief’s strategist, until he was ousted in the summer of 2017. A lawyer for him did not immediately return a message seeking comment.