BREAKING: Steve Bannon, 3 Others Arrested and Charged With Wire Fraud, Money Laundering Related to ‘We Build the Wall’ Crowdfunding Scheme


Former White House chief strategist and ex-Breitbart News executive chairman Steve Bannon is being charged with fraud by New York prosecutors for his role in an online fundraising scheme that promised to collect private donations to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced on Thursday that Bannon and three others have been arrested and indicted for “defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors in connection with an online crowdfunding campaign known as ‘We Build the Wall.'” The charges stem from the allegation that Bannon and his colleagues secretly embezzled money from the 25$ million dollars raised by the campaign and directly transferred it to Brian Kolfage (who was also charged) for his own personal uses.

From the announcement:

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.

The four have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. Both counts carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

UPDATE – 11:35 a.m. ET: The White House has issued a response to the news:

Watch MSNBC reporting as the news broke, above.

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