Steve Bannon indicted in scheme to defraud donors to Trump's wall

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Bannon was arrested Thursday and charged with defrauding thousands of people who thought they were helping build Trump's wall.

Former Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon was arrested on Thursday and charged with fraud as part of a massive scheme to defraud donors to a crowdfunding campaign seeking to build Trump's long-promised border wall.

Bannon, who also served as Trump's campaign manager in 2016, was one of four men who were part of the "We Build the Wall" campaign, which raised more than $25 million for Trump's border wall, according to a statement from the Southern District of New York.

"As alleged, 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," acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a release.

Bannon and the other men assured donors that "100% of the funds raised" would go toward building the wall. However, that was not true. According to the charges, Bannon received more than $1 million from the funds raised, and used hundreds of thousands of dollars of that on personal expenses.

Bannon and the other men are alleged to have used a shell company to conceal the payments the men took from the fund.

The crowdfunding campaign to build the wall has been panned, including by locals who called the half-mile of wall a "bunch of bullshit" that didn't work.

Donors to the crowdfunding campaign even grew suspicious that they were being ripped off, taking to the group's Facebook page to question what the group was doing with the money.

After the tiny piece of wall the group built began to show signs of erosion, even Trump himself criticized the project, saying in July that it was "only done to make me look bad" — even though it was built by his supporters.

Bannon becomes the latest Trump ally to be indicted, joining former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, former Trump aide Rick Gates, Trump ally Roger Stone, former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen, and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, among others.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.