Steve Bannon was arrested by federal prosecutors on Thursday, charged with defrauding hundreds of thousands of dollars from a fundraising scheme.
Bannon — a former chief strategist for President Donald Trump and head of Breitbart News — was among four men identified by the United States Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York as “leaders” of the “We Build the Wall” campaign, which brought in over $25 million.
The others arrested and charged were Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea. Shea has served as acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration since May. They are 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 penalty of 20 years in prison, according to a release.
The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres.
Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement, “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. 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. We thank the USPIS for their partnership in investigating this case, and we remain dedicated to rooting out and prosecuting fraud wherever we find it.”