Steve Bannon was arrested this week for fraud and has pleaded not guilty in the courtroom. The US Department of Justice stated that Steve along with three others, has been arrested for defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors to a Mexico wall fundraising campaign called ‘We Build the Wall’ which raised around $25 million. Mr. Bannon has used more than $1 million for his personal expenses. He was arrested by agents of the US Postal Investigation Services in a yacht called The Lady Man. Guo Wengui, the Chinese billionaire is the owner of that Yacht.
Bannon was known for being a top strategist for President Donald Trump in the 2016 elections campaign. He used the right-wing anti-immigration ideology which was a core Manifesto of the “America First’ campaign which Trump used to win the election. Bannon is the sixth member to face criminal charges linked with Donald Trump. Others were Paul Manafort, who was the ex-campaign chairman, Roger Stone, the veteran political operator, and Michael Conan, Trump’s ex-lawyer. Rick Gates ex-Deputy Campaign Manager and Michael Flynn, Former National Security Advisor were also involved. He was released on bail for $5 million. ‘We Build the Wall’ was said to be an online crowdfunding campaign that raised $25 million. According to what the defendants promised the money was to construct a border barrier but was emptied instead.
What are the charges against Steve Bannon?
The prosecutors have charged Bannon with conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering and the founder of ‘We Build the Wall’, Mr. Kolfage took $350,000 for his personal use. Philippe R. Bartlett, who is the inspector in charge stated that fake invoices and accounts were created to cover up for the missing amounts breaking the law. The charges carry a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison. Restrictions for traveling on private boat and plane on leave the country has been put on the ban on until he is done with his criminal trial.
Bannon was an important member of Trump’s campaign. Trump has also labeled Bannon as the brain behind the President. But, after frequent clashes, Bannon was pushed out in 2017. Elections are coming up in November and Trump has maintained the distance not to get involved in this. Trump stated that although he felt very badly, he has no involvement in the campaign whatsoever. Bannon was a former investment banker who later joined Trump as his chief strategist. The investigation is still ongoing and we will surely know what will be the punishment for someone who defrauded the citizens.