Steve Bannon is in federal custody in New York City facing charges of fraud and money laundering relating to a fundraising effort to build a wall along the southern U.S. border.
Bannon was a key political adviser to President Donald Trump during the 2016 election and many see him as the architect of the Trump presidency’s most egregious aspects.
He was arrested on Thursday morning and Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced charges of fraud against Bannon and three associates.
Bannon reportedly received more than $1 million.
Breaking on @MSNBC: Steve Bannon is in federal custody in New York City, according to a SDNY spokesperson.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 20, 2020
The indictments for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering relate to “We Build the Wall” – a scheme which solicited donations from the public to fund the border wall, which was a centerpiece of President Trump’s 2016 campaign.
The group raised more than $25 million, which they told donors would all go toward wall construction.
“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 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 three other men could face up to 20 years in prison if they’re convicted.
Darragh Roche is a journalist covering U.S. politics and media