On Thursday, one of Trump’s former top aide, Steve Bannon, was arrested and charged along with three others for defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors in a Mexico border wall fundraising campaign, a blow to the Republican incumbent.
The online crowdfunding campaign known as “We Build the Wall” raised more than $25 million, prosecutors said, which the defendants said would be used on construction but was instead used for their own profit.
The arrest is the latest in a string of high-profile legal battles faced by members of Trump’s inner circle as the Republican runs for re-election in November.
Manhattan federal prosecutors said Bannon, the organization’s founder Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea “received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donor funds from We Build the Wall, which they each used in a manner inconsistent with the organization’s public representations.”
The initiative began in 2018 as a GoFundMe campaign to raise money organizers said would go towards the border wall Trump had promised during his 2016 campaign, which Bannon orchestrated.
Kolfage, a 38-year-old based in Florida, had vowed that all funds raised would go to the wall and he would not take compensation — but according to the indictment, he took more than $350,000 for his own use and worked to hide his actions.
– ‘Launder donations’ –
After calling the effort a “volunteer organization,” Bannon, 66, received over $1 million of the donations which he funnelled through a non-profit he controlled, using some of it for his personal expenses, prosecutors said.
All four men are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
“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,” said Philip Bartlett, head of New York’s division of the US Postal Inspection Service which worked on the investigation.
Prior to leading Trump’s 2016 presidential bid, Bannon, a brash, aggressively conservative voice of US nationalism, headed the far-right outlet Breitbart News.
Once a prominent voice in the president’s ear, Bannon was behind some of Trump’s most controversial moves, including his ban on some travellers from abroad and the decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate change agreement.
After frequent clashes with others in the White House including Trump, Bannon was pushed out in August 2017.
Liverpool’s Thiago test positive to Covid-19
PHOTOS: See shocking revelation of 33-year-old African man after 19 children
I feel stupid, lady narrates how best friend duped her of N1m
I’m tired of people telling me what to do, DJ Cuppy cries out
I couldn’t face my family and friends, BBNaija Erica reveals
Colombian woman missing for two years found alive floating at sea
Super Eagles defender Troost-Ekong joins Watford
Carabao Cup: Chelsea crash out after penalty shootout with Tottenham
Popular showbiz duo, Obi Cubana, Cubana Chief Priest part ways
Ex-convict, 50, caught raping four-year-old girl in Bauchi mosque (Photos/Video)
31-year-old lady begs lover, 25, to marry her (Screenshots)
Lady who has never been to UK wakes up from coma with British accent
Lagos community react to cemetery project, says we need schools, hospitals not a public graveyard
Rats terribly damage ABSU student’s property during lockdown
Mozambique bans cultured fish importation from Malawi
Just in: Oshiomhole, Bello, Ganduje, El-rufai on US Visa ban
VIDEO: Reviews of Obaseki’s victory, woman’s wedding anniversary with tree, missing girl
VIDEO: Olojo festival in Ife, Osun State
VIDEO: Victims recount horrors of Lagos gas explosion
VIDEO: I need a job to feed my family, pay rent – Nigerian legendary boxer, Jerry Okorodudu
VIDEO: Does Nigeria have the lowest price of petrol in Africa?
VIDEO: Gas explosion in Ajuwon, Lagos
Edo election: You win some, you lose some, but life goes on – Oshiomhole
Unstoppable: She lives in a wheelchair, draws with impaired hands but create beautiful pencil art (VIDEO)
- Metro21 hours ago
Woman, 46, sneaks into ex-boyfriend’s house rapes his six-year-old son
- News16 hours ago
FG reacts as court fines Senator Abbo N50m over sex-toy shop assault
- Entertainment21 hours ago
BBNaija’s Nengi reveals true feelings for Laycon
- Entertainment16 hours ago
‘You’ve never led protest like Fela’, Sowore tells Burna Boy
- Entertainment16 hours ago
Mike Bamiloye’s daughter, Lawrence Oyor release pre-wedding photos
- Sports23 hours ago
My dad advised me to cut my hair before Costa fight – Adesanya
- Entertainment12 hours ago
Nigerians drag fans who bought land for Mercy Eke on 27th birthday
- Entertainment20 hours ago
Why I became friends with Kiddwaya – Laycon