Trump’s wall champion pleads guilty to fraud and faces years in prison

Brian Kolfage, the founder of a viral campaign to pay for Donald Trump’s wall along the US-Mexico border, admitted to federal prosecutors on Thursday that he pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars that donors gave to its cause.

Kolfage agreed to serve 51 to 63 months in prison, return the more than $17 million he raised for his “We’re building the wall” campaign, pay more than $140,000 in unpaid taxes, and pay $20,000 to $200,000 in fines as part of a plea. agreement on bogus income taxes he reported in 2019.

“I prompted donors to opt for the new project in part because of the misrepresentation that I would not benefit from We Build the Wall or receive a salary or compensation,” Kolfage read in a prepared statement during of a virtual court appearance on Thursday. “I knowingly and willfully conspired to receive donation money.”

The conservative activist and conspiracy theorist admitted to siphoning off $350,000 from donors – spending it on a boat, luxury vehicles, jewelry and plastic surgery – despite promises he made not to take a share of the funds or take a salary for their fundraising work.

“I knew what I was doing was wrong and a crime,” said Kolfage, who once insisted when the charges, filed shortly before the 2020 presidential election, were entirely “politically motivated, given the timing of the charges.” took place”.

Judge Analisa Torres of the Southern District of New York has yet to accept the plea. Sentencing is scheduled for September 6.

Kolfage was arrested in the summer of 2020 alongside former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and two other men involved in the scheme. While Trump pardoned Bannon of all charges in the final moments of his presidency, he did not do the same for Kolfage and the other defendants.

One of them, Andrew Badolato, also pleaded guilty to wire fraud on Thursday and faces more than four years in prison. The other, Timothy Shea, pleaded not guilty.


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