Steve Bannon, a former advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump, and three other men behind an online crowdfunding campaign to build portions of a U.S.-Mexico border wall were arrested and charged on Thursday with defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors, the Justice Department announced.Bannon, who served as CEO of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and later as his top White House strategist — and his three accomplices — Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea – used the “We Build the Wall” campaign to raise funds for construction of private sections of the nearly 2,000-mile-long U.S. Mexico border.But prosecutors said they used hundreds of thousands of dollars raised through the campaign for personal expenses.“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,” Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement.The fundraising campaign was launched by Kolfage, a U.S. Air Force Veteran in 2018. It had an initial goal of $1 billion but ultimately raised more than $25 million.To solicit donations, Kolfage “repeatedly and falsely assured the public that he would ‘not take a penny in salary or compensation’ and that ‘100% of the funds raised . . . will be used in the execution of our mission and purpose’ because, as Bannon publicly stated, ‘we’re a volunteer organization,’” the Justice Department said in a statement.“Those representations were false,” the Justice Department said in a statement.The four men were charged in an indictment unsealed in New York on Thursday and will make their first court appearances later in the day.Bannon is the sixth former Trump Campaign associated to face federal charges.  He was fired in August 2017, just seven months after Trump took office but continues to support the president. 

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