(VitalNews.org) – Despite facing the same federal charges, Steve Bannon was pardoned in the final hours of former President Trump’s administration, but his associates weren’t as lucky.
Brian Kolfage and Andrew Badolato were sentenced on Wednesday, April 26th to four years and three years, respectively, for the scheme involving the southern border wall.
The US attorney’s office said that the two men were originally charged “in connection with an online crowdfunding campaign known as ‘We Build The Wall’ by soliciting donations using false statements and then stealing the resulting donations.”
Kolfage, 41, and Badolato, 58 pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in April of 2022. Two additional counts, wire fraud in connection with filing a false tax return and filing a false tax return, to which Kolfage also pleaded guilty.
Kolfage is an Air Force veteran who lost both legs in the Iraq War and the founder of the ‘We Build the Wall’ campaign. His co-defendant, Badolato is a financier. A third defendant, Tim Shea is a Colorado businessman and won’t receive sentencing until June 2023.
The scheme was the brainchild of Kolfage, prosecutors said, where he acted as the front man for the effort with partner Shea, as the group worked to raise more than $25 million from donors across the country. Kolfage and Badolato have been ordered to repay the sum in restitution to the victims of their plot.
According to prosecutors, when the scheme started to get donations rolling in, the two men, Kolfage and Shea, turned to Bannon and Badolato to create the nonprofit, We Build the Wall, Inc. where they each made efforts to reroute the money to themselves for personal gain.
Kelly Kramer, Badolato’s attorney, said Bannon was “a leader and primary beneficiary” of the We Build The Wall endeavor, making sure to note that his client received a smaller portion of the payout than his associate.
Steve Bannon, the former White House strategist to Trump, may have escaped the federal charges by presidential pardon, but Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg brought state charges against him in 2022 which can not be pardoned. Bannon calls the charges “nonsense.”
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