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Monday, December 09, 2019

Bannon Crony Will Plead Guilty In 'Border Wall’ Fraud

Former President Donald J. Trump at the border in summer 2020

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

An ally of former President Donald Trump, who also led the campaign effort to raise funding to build the border wall, has agreed to enter a guilty plea on fraud charges amid accusations that he misappropriated funds for the project. The case is in connection with the We Build the Wall border project.

In addition to the fraud charges for attempt and conspiracy to commit wire, Brian Kolfage, a right-wing propagandist on social media, has reportedly agreed to enter a guilty plea for tax fraud for falsifying information on his 2019 taxes, according to court documents filed in the federal Southern District of New York.

Prosectors shared details about Kolfage's income claims noting that he "first claimed to have earned $63,574 that year and then filed a correction claiming $300,000, but officials claimed Kolfage's income for that year 'were materially in excess of that amount.'"

Although Kolfage initially claimed he "wouldn't earn 'a penny in salary or compensation'" from the efforts to raise funds for the border wall, federal prosecutors argue otherwise.

Per Reuters, prosecutors have indicated Kolfage "told prospective donors he would 'not take a penny' as he raised more than $25 million, yet took more than $350,000 and spent money on a boat, a luxury SUV, a golf cart, jewelry, and cosmetic surgery, among other expenses."

Despite the staggering fundraising efforts, Fisher Sand & Gravel, the contractor employed to complete the project, also claims that the organization "pulled out of the $8 million project and paid for only $1.5 million of it," according to Buzzfeed.

The charges against Kolfage follow similar charges brought against former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon, who escaped prosecution when Trump pardoned him. Kolfage, who faces the possibility of a maximum of 20 years behind bars in connection with the wire and fraud charges, is expected to change his plea status on April 21.

Printed with permission from Alternet.

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