Ex Trump Advisor Steve Bannon Charged with Fraud
A court in New York charged on Thursday Steve Bannon, the controversial former chief strategist for U.S. president Donald Trump, with fraud in connection with a fundraising campaign aimed to build a wall between Mexico and the United States.
US Department of Justice said.Apart from Bannon, campaign leaders Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea are also suspected of having defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors who gave US$25 million for the "We Build the Wall" campaign, the
“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,” said acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss.
“Bannon, through a non-profit organization under his control, received over $1 million from “We Build the Wall,” at least some of which Bannon used to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bannon’s personal expenses,” the DOJ statement said.
Amidst an unprecedented political effort against the Postal Service by the Trump administration, the fraud was discovered with the help of the United Postal Service’s Investigate Service.
“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,” said Inspector-In-Charge Philip R. Bartlett.
“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,” he added.
Bannon was arrested Thursday morning while cruising on a $28 million dollar yacht owned by Chinese dissident Guo Wengui. He pleaded not guilty when he appeared before a judge later that day.