Steve Bannon, Andrew Badolato, Timothy Shea, and Brian Kolfage were indicted by a federal grand jury and fitted for bracelets by the federal investigators who arrested them.
For those that may not remember Brian Kolfage is the Air Force veteran who lost his legs. Mr. Kolfage gained a good deal of attention in the national media after Facebook deleted hundreds of accounts run by conservative bloggers following President Trump’s unexpected victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Mr. Kolfage began using his newfound fame to direct attention to a number of GoFundMe campaigns, the most notable of which was his “Build The Wall” campaign he began in an effort to raise $1 Billion Dollars to privately fund the border wall President Trump was struggling to get money from Congress to build.
The GoFundMe campaign was hugely successful raising some $27 million dollars. At one point the campaign encountered a great deal of controversy over how the funds were going to be used and GoFundMe even offered to return donations to people having second thoughts about the legitimacy of his efforts and if it would even be possible for the people to actually pay for the construction.
The attention the campaign received led to him making some connections and to add some credibility to his Build The Wall campaign he was able to assemble a small team of well known public figures that included Steve Bannon, a former member of President Trump’s inner circle, Timothy Shea, a former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., and Andrew Badolato who has a history of finding himself in the middle of one scam or another.
It is not a crime for people who administer charitable causes to pay themselves a salary from the funds raised, but what has got these four jammed up is the fact that they made a big issue of promising the donors that the Build The Wall effort of a volunteer effort and that 100% of the money would go toward building the wall… Nothing else!
The indictment alleges that 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.
The indictment states:
“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.”
The four of them have been charged with a conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering and face up to 20 years in prison.
The federal prosecutors have obtained text messages where they discuss keeping their payments confidential and they all are alleged to have received hundreds of thousands of dollars that they routed through a shell company using fake invoices and fraudulent vendor arrangements to cover their trail.
They all are of course innocent until proven guilty and often times the case brought against someone like this breaks down when both sides of the story are told… I don’t know if they are or are not guilty but it’s pretty safe to say they have got themselves in one hell of a mess and if the allegations are true they engaged in a pretty low life scheme…
We will keep you posted as new information becomes available… You can read the indictment for yourself below.
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