Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former top adviser, was charged on Thursday in New York with fraud for his role in a scheme related to “We Build the Wall,” an online fund-raising effort that collected more than $25 million for the president’s much-touted plan to erect a barrier on the Mexican border, officials said.
Mr. Bannon and three other 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,” Audrey Strauss, the acting United States attorney in Manhattan, said in a statement Thursday.
Mr. Bannon was arrested early Thursday in Connecticut by U.S. postal inspectors and brought to Manhattan where he faced charges in a two-count indictment unsealed in federal district court. He was expected to appear before a U.S. magistrate judge in New York later in the day.
According to federal authorities, Mr. Bannon, widely considered the architect of Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, hatched the plot to defraud donors to the build-the-wall campaign with three other men: Brian Kolfage, 38, an Air Force veteran from Miramar Beach, Fla.; Andrew Badolato, 56, a financier from Sarasota, Fla.; and Timothy Shea, 49, of Castle Rock, Colo.