Home New mexico tax Bannon Associates pleads guilty in ‘Build the Wall’ fraud case

Bannon Associates pleads guilty in ‘Build the Wall’ fraud case

4
0
  • Two defendants in the “We Build the Wall” fraud case pleaded guilty on Thursday.
  • The two admitted to conspiring to commit wire fraud and money laundering, as well as lying on a tax return.
  • Donations from supporters were diverted to a nonprofit linked to Steve Bannon, the longtime Trump adviser who was pardoned in the case.

Two of the defendants in the “Build The Wall” fraud cases involving Steve Bannon pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court.

Brian Kolfage and Andrew Badolato pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, misrepresentation on a tax return and wire fraud in the filing of a tax return .

Bannon – Trump’s longtime adviser – also faced charges in the case; Trump pardoned Bannon in the final hours of his presidency in 2020.

Prosecutors alleged that some of the money sent to We Build the Wall — a group that raises money to pay for a wall on the Mexican border — was diverted to nonprofits linked to Bannon.

Kolfage and Badolato agreed to plead guilty after agreeing to a plea deal with the US government in March.

In court in New York on Thursday, the couple admitted to telling the public that 100% of the donated funds would go towards building a wall on the US southern border.

Kolfage, the chairman of We Build the Wall, also claimed he would not derive any income from the venture. He admitted to planning to keep much of the donated money for himself and other We Build the Wall associates.

Prosecutors said the Kolfage paid himself $200,000 a month using donations during the program and also used supporters’ money for luxuries like jewelry, an SUV and payments for a boat.

Kolfage also admitted to underreporting these donations on his tax returns to avoid paying taxes.

Both apologized for their actions and admitted they knew what they were doing was wrong at the time.

The company raised $25 million in donations, according to the indictment, and was able to build part of a wall in southern New Mexico.

Bannon still faces charges unrelated to his defying Congress by refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.