The former assistant to the American president and several others are charged with luring more than $25 million in donations.
The New York Prosecutor’s Office reported that former U.S. presidential aide Stephen Bannon and three others were arrested on charges of fraud and embezzlement of large donor funds. The 66-year-old Bannon, 38-year-old Brian Colpage, 56-year-old Andrew Badolato, and 49-year-old Timothy Shea were taken into custody. They are accused of defrauding thousands of donors of thousands of donors through an online campaign called We Build the Wall. More than $25 million in donations were raised as part of the campaign. The arrested claimed that all donations without a trace would go to the construction of a wall on the border, but in fact, appropriated large sums of these funds to lead a wasteful lifestyle, the prosecutor’s office said.
In particular, College, who led the campaign, is accused of embezzling more than $350,000. Donations. According to the prosecutor’s office, Bannon received more than $1 million from We Build the Wall through a nonprofit organization under his control, some of which he used to cover personal expenses. These costs are estimated at “hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Two other defendants are charged with complicity in a criminal scheme.
The defendants were arrested this morning. Colfage and Bannon will appear in court in the Southern District of New York today,” the prosecutor’s office said.
The remaining defendants will appear in court in Florida and Colorado on Thursday. Each is charged with two counts of electronic fraud and the legalization of criminally acquired funds. Each count carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
MSNBC reported that Bannon has pleaded not guilty.
Bannon held one of the key positions on Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016. He was later appointed to the White House post as chief strategist for the administration. In August 2017, however, Bannon decided to resign. The media then claimed that his relationship with Trump had seriously deteriorated. Bannon has previously spoken out in support of right-wing and far-right associations.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday called the news of the arrest of his former aide Stephen Bannon “very sad” and noted that he had not spoken to him for a long time.
I’m very upset. I haven’t dealt with him in a very long time. (…) It’s very sad for Bannon,” Trump replied.
Paul Manafort, the former head of US President Donald Trump’s campaign, who was sentenced by the court to seven years in prison, has been placed under house arrest.