[Photo Credit: By Mark Lambie / El Paso Times - https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-08-21/bannon-partners-had-history-of-cashing-in-on-trump-movement, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=121093595]
Brian Kolfage and Andrew Badolato, two campaign fundraisers for “We Build the Wall,” were reportedly given prison terms on Wednesday for their part in scamming hundreds of thousands of supporters and taking their money.
In 2022, Mr. Badolato and Mr. Kolfage admitted to conspiring to commit wire fraud, and Mr. Kolfage also confessed to committing tax offenses.
Mr. Shea was found guilty of conspiring to commit wire fraud, falsifying documents, and money laundering last October.
Badolato received a sentence of three years in jail, while Kolfage received a term of 51 months in prison, or slightly over four years.
The maximum possible term for the offenses was 20 years in jail.
Three years of supervised release were also given to the two.
Kolfage, 41, was ordered to forfeit more than $17.8 million and make reparations of more than $2 million.
Badolato, 58, must forfeit more than $1.4 million and make restitution in the same amount.
After Donald Trump made building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign and subsequent presidency, Kolfage and Badolato collaborated with Steve Bannon, the former senior White House strategist in the Trump administration, to put together a crowdfunded initiative to accomplish the task privately.
All donations given to the group by donors were supposed to go toward a border wall, Mr. Kolfage had claimed.
However, prosecutors claimed that Mr. Badolato and Mr. Bannon secretly arranged to give him a $100,000 down payment up front, followed by $20,000 monthly payments directly from payments made by donors to the project.
Prosecutors claim that more than $1 million was transferred from We Build the Wall to Citizens of the American Republic, or COAR, a nonprofit organization Mr. Bannon founded.
Prosecutors claimed that this organization then transferred funds to Mr. Bannon and Mr. Kolfage.
After receiving a pardon from former President Trump, Mr. Bannon avoided going to court for his alleged part in the fraud.