The former strategist for the US president, Steve Bannon, has been arrested in connection with his participation in a fundraiser for a private Mexico border wall project. He and three other individuals, US Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato, and Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration Timothy Shea, have been charged by the US Justice Department with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The department insists that the "We Build The Wall" crowdfunding campaign, which seeks to raise money to build a wall on the US border with Mexico akin to the one being pursued by President Donald Trump, was a major scam that defrauded hundreds of thousands of people. According to the DoJ’s statement, the four used the $25 million raised for the cause in a manner that was "inconsistent with public representations". Former White House strategist Steve Bannon speaks to reporters as he departs after testifying in the federal trial of Roger Stone, at federal court in Washington, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019.
The US Justice Department pointed out that the group had promised to spend 100% of the raised funds on building the wall, but in fact used at least part of the money on personal expenses. The announcement says that US Air Force veteran Brian took at least $350,000 from the coffers, while Bannon transferred over $1 million to his non-profit organization called "Non-Profit-1". The same non-profit, along with a shell company owned by Timothy Shea, was used by the four to try to hide the nature of the "We Build The Wall’s" illegal spending, the DoJ said.
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