Did you ever wonder what happened to ‘Sloppy Steve’ since his falling out with the Trump administration all those years ago? Well, as it happens, he just got himself arrested.
He and several others are now facing federal charges over allegedly misusing money sent by donors to a ‘We Build The Wall’ nonprofit organization?
This is the same organization we covered in a story more than a year ago: Did Triple Amputee Leverage ‘Hero’ Status To Defraud MAGA Donors Of Build-The-Wall Donations?
In that story, one of the key takeaways was related to defrauding donors.
Brian Kolfage — no stranger to media attention — is in the news again. For all the wrong reasons.
He’s now being accused of being a scam artist, using donations meant for his multi-million-dollar Build The Wall project to fund a jet-set lifestyle.
And now, related charges are being laid against him, and others.
Steve Bannon, former chief strategist to President Donald Trump, was arrested in New York Thursday on charges of using the viral “We Build the Wall” fundraising campaign to enrich himself.
Hundreds of thousands of donors who gave a total of $25 million to the crowdfunding campaign were defrauded, Audrey Strauss, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.
Three others were indicted along with Bannon: Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea.
“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,” Strauss said.
The campaign, which asked supporters to donate money to build Trump’s much-hyped wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, raised $17 million in its first week. It was shut down soon after by GoFundMe after it became unclear how the money would be used.
Prosecutors allege Kolfage, the founder and public face of the campaign, promised contributors that he would not be paid a cent.
However, he “covertly took more than $350,000 in funds” that he used “to pay for his own personal expenses, including, among other purposes, home renovations, payments toward a boat, a luxury SUV, a golf cart, jewelry, cosmetic surgery, personal tax payments, and credit card debt,” the indictment says.
Bannon, through a non-profit organization under his control, received over $1 million from the fundraiser that he used to pay for hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses and secretly pay Kolfage, the indictment alleges.
“Bannon used a substantial portion of those donor funds for personal uses and expenses unrelated to We Build the Wall,” it says. —DailyBeast
They are alleged to have used some shady accounting techniques and bogus invoices to redirect money back to Kolfage allowing him to be indirectly paid, despite claiming he wouldn’t receive one thin dime.
Pennies or dimes? No, he didn’t get any of those.
But if the allegations hold up, he DID get himself some fat stacks on the backs of well-meaning patriotic donors.
Within a week of Kolfage launching the campaign in December 2018, they raised roughly $17 million, prosecutors said. Due to concerns over where the money was going, the crowdfunding platform told Kolfage to identify a nonprofit that the money would go to or the funds would be returned. At that point, prosecutors said, Bannon and Badolato worked on creating the nonprofit We Build the Wall Inc.
The stated goal was then changed to using the money to privately construct the wall, and past donors had to agree to have their money used for that purpose. They were assured that all of the money would go to wall construction, and not to Kolfage or the organization’s board, the indictment said.
“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,” Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement. “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.”
Bannon and the other defendants were each charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. —FoxNews
And if Bannon helped him pull it off? Then he deserves whatever’s coming to him.
We only wish the DOJ took other allegations of financial malfeasance as seriously.
Remind me again — were any members of that Democrat freshman ‘Squad’ not implicated in shady financial dealings?
Let’s not hold our breath waiting for anything to come of that, though.