News & Politics

Bannon Indicted, Arrested by NY Feds for Alleged Defrauding Donors to 'We Build the Wall' Group

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Former White House advisor Steve Bannon has been indicted by hyperpolitical, anti-Donald Trump prosecutors at the U.S. Attorneys Office in the Southern District of New York.

Prosecutors sent officers to arrest Bannon and three others, including the head of the “We Build the Wall” organization, for allegedly siphoning off hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay the head of the organization. Prosecutors allege that the group had said the group’s founder, Brian Kolfage, would not receive a salary.

The news release issued Thursday morning made sure to include the fact that investigators for the U.S. Postal Service Inspection Service helped investigate the case. Democrats have made the USPS a campaign issue because they’re agitating for an all mail-in election. President Trump has vowed to stop increased funding for the post office to fund a mail-in election predicting it would be nothing short of a disaster and a formula for fraud. The postal workers union endorsed Trump’s opponent, Joe Biden for president.

Posted by We Build The Wall Inc on Friday, July 31, 2020

In the news release issued Thursday morning, the acting U.S. attorney alleges that Kolfage received $350,000 in compensation and that Bannon received $1 million. The group collected $25 million for the wall, which the group actually began building.

Where it all began in Sunland, New Mexico thanks to you, our awesome, American Patriots! 🇺🇸 https://webuildthewall.us/project4

Posted by We Build The Wall Inc on Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The U.S. Attorneys Office said that two others involved in the “We Build the Wall” fund, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea, were also indicted.

To conceal the payments to KOLFAGE from We Build the Wall, KOLFAGE, BANNON, BADOLATO, and SHEA devised a scheme to route those payments from We Build the Wall to KOLFAGE indirectly through Non-Profit-1 and a shell company under SHEA’s control, among other avenues. They did so by using fake invoices and sham “vendor” arrangements, among other ways, to ensure, as KOLFAGE noted in a text message to BADOLATO, that his pay arrangement remained “confidential” and kept on a “need to know” basis.

It’s unclear if the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, sent a Roger-Stone-like SWAT Team to arrest the accused white-collar criminals or let them turn themselves in to face the charges, but all will appear in court today. Bannon will be charged in New York, and the others will face judges in Colorado and Florida. However, the judge overseeing the entire case is in New York.

Each faces “one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.”