The guy who crowdfunded $25 million to build Trump's border wall just got indicted on tax-fraud charges

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Brian Kolfage in 2014. Bebeto Matthews/AP Photo

Brian Kolfage - the cofounder of a failed crowdfunding effort to build a wall along the US-Mexico border with Steve Bannon - is facing a new tax case after being indicted on federal fraud charges last year.

Newly unsealed court documents show that a federal grand jury in Florida indicted Kolfage over accusations of fraud and filing false tax returns.

Charging documents reviewed by Insider said Kolfage's tax filings for 2019 represented an income of $63,574. But the documents said Kolfage personally received hundreds of thousands of dollars that year through his "We Build the Wall" project and other organizations.

The charges were first reported by Bloomberg News.

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In August, federal prosecutors in New York filed an indictment against Kolfage and Bannon, accusing them of using some of the $25 million raised for the "We Build the Wall" organization to line their own pockets. Two other conservative political operatives, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea, were also charged in the scheme.

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The prosecutors accused Kolfage of using $350,000 in donor money to fund a lavish lifestyle, including spending money on home renovations, a boat, a luxury SUV, a golf cart, jewelry, plastic surgery, and credit-card debt.

Kolfage launched the "We Build the Wall" fundraiser in December 2018 during a government shutdown in a failed attempt to raise $1 billion to privately build a US-Mexico border wall. Trump said he knew nothing about the project after Bannon was charged.

Trump pardoned Bannon, his former campaign chairman and chief White House strategist, on his last day in office. He didn't pardon Kolfage, Badolato, or Shea.

Additional charging documents in the Florida case detailing how Kolfage handled his money were not immediately available in public court records. The indictment said Kolfage kept his money in the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, which typically represents members of the US military. Kolfage is an Air Force veteran and lost both legs and an arm in the Iraq War.

Harvey A. Steinberg, the attorney representing Kolfage in his New York case, was dismissive of the new charges in Florida.

"Unlike the government, we are not going to hold a press conference to celebrate the persecution of a war hero," he told Insider.

This article has been updated.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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