How Bannon and His Indicted Business Partners Cashed In on Trump

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As President Trump fumed in 2018 over the progress his government was making on a border wall, an Air Force veteran’s pro-wall GoFundMe page would transform into a separate project, funded by private donations and guided by former Trump advisers, including Stephen K. Bannon.

Frustrated over the delays in Mr. Trump’s signature campaign promise, Brian Kolfage’s group, We Build the Wall, raised more than $20 million in weeks, largely on the promise of sidestepping the legal and political obstacles to building a border wall by using private funding to construct it on privately owned land.

But on Thursday, about a month after Mr. Trump publicly criticized the private construction effort, federal prosecutors in New York unveiled an indictment accusing the fund-raising campaign of ties to a scheme that “defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors.”

Federal authorities in the Southern District of New York say Mr. Bannon, one of the architects of Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign who later joined the group’s board, plotted with three other men: Mr. Kolfage, 38, from Miramar Beach, Fla.; Andrew Badolato, 56, a financier from Sarasota, Fla.; and Timothy Shea, 49, of Castle Rock, Colo. Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state who is listed as We Build the Wall’s general counsel on the group’s website, was not named in the indictment.

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