The President of United State Donald Trump former Adviser and three others arrested for conspiracy to commit wire fraud in online fundraising campaign for border wall.
Steve Bannon, who is a former White House adviser was arrested on Thursday on charges that he and three others illicitly took money from donors in an online fundraising scheme which is “We Build The Wall”.
However, federal prosecutors alleged that Bannon and three others plan a scheme to defraud hundreds of thousands of donors in connection with an online crowdfunding campaign that claims to have raised over $25m to build a wall along the southern border of the United States.
Bannon who is a top adviser to US president Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign but later served as White House chief strategist, he also helped articulate the right wing populism and fierce opposition to immigration which helped define Trump’s three and a half years in office, but he left the White House in August 2017.
According to report from US Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York, Bannon was arrested with Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea on Thursday morning.
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”, according to the indictment.
Hundred thousands of dollars allegedly received by the four men, which they each used in a manner inconsistent with the organisation’s public representations.
The four accused are each charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday distanced himself from his former adviser.
He said “I feel very badly. I haven’t been dealing with him for a very long period of time,” Trump said. “I don’t like that project, I think it was a project being done for showboating reasons.”
Though it was inappropriate to finance the border wall with private funds, said by Trump.
US Attorney’s Office said, Bannon and others three were innocent until proven guilty, reiterating a founding principle of the US criminal justice system.
The We Build The Wall website claims 500,000 people have donated and $25m has been raised.
Donald Trump Jr called the organisation “private enterprise at its finest”, “faster, better, cheaper” and saying “what you guys are doing is pretty amazing,” in a testimonial on the group’s website.
Trump’s signature effort to build a wall along the US-Mexico border – a key 2016 campaign promise – has struggled amid court challenges, logistical hurdles and opposition from Democrats in Congress.
Trump repeatedly promised that Mexico would pay for the wall in 2016 campaign speeches.