Los Angeles Times
Stephen K. Bannon, who guided President Trump’s 2016 campaign in its final months and served as a senior White House advisor, was charged Thursday in New York with fraud for his role in an online fundraising scheme, We Build The Wall, that raised $25 million.
Bannon and three associates diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars from the group, using the money in part to cover personal expenses, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.
All four men were arrested Thursday morning and are expected to appear in federal court later in the day, officials said. Bannon, 66, is set to appear in federal court in New York.
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,” Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.
With the indictment, which comes less than three months ahead of the November election, Bannon becomes the seventh prominent Trump associate to be charged with a federal crime.
Bannon, credited as the mastermind behind Trump’s successful nationalistic appeal to a political base of aggrieved working-class white voters, is alleged to have “received over $1,000,000 from We Build the Wall,” some of which he used to “cover hundreds of thousands of dollars of personal expenses,” according to the indictment.
A spokesperson for Bannon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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