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2 'We Build the Wall' Leaders Plead Guilty to Fraud

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Brian Kolfage and Andrew Badolato pleaded guilty to defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors to a crowdfunding campaign, “We Build the Wall.”

On Thursday, they each pleaded guilty to “one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.” Additionally, Kolfage “pled guilty to tax and wire fraud charges filed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida,” per the Department of Justice.

Kolfage and Badolato worked with Steve Bannon, former President Donald Trump’s adviser.

More than $25,000,000 was raised by the campaign to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Per the Department of Justice, Kolfage “repeatedly and falsely assured the public that he would ‘not take a penny in salary or compensation’ and that ‘100% of the funds raised . . . will be used in the execution of our mission and purpose.'”

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Kolfage allegedly used over $350,000 in donations for personal expenses.

“I knew what I was doing was wrong and a crime,” Kolfage told the judge.

They are scheduled to be sentenced on September 6.

Kolfage started a GoFundMe campaign in December 2018. It quickly took off as it raked in over $20 million in days.

The group broke ground in 2019 building its own border wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. Then came a “cease and desist.” Later in August 2020, an indictment came.

In August 2020, the Department of Justice alleged Kolfage, Bannon, and two others defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors.

“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,” then-acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said at the time.

Trump pardoned Bannon before leaving the White House. Bannon denied wrongdoing. Kolfage did not receive a pardon.

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