Steve Bannon associate convicted in ‘We Build the Wall’ fundraising scam

Steve Bannon associate Timothy Shea was convicted by a New York City jury on Friday for defrauding thousands of donors in the “We Build the Wall” fundraising scam.

Shea, 51, was found guilty of conspiracy and obstruction of justice in Manhattan Federal Court.

This was his second trial. The first one ended in a mistrial in April when a juror refused to convict him, citing a government “witch hunt.”

The Colorado businessman was one of four men the feds charged in 2020 with pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars raised by supporters of Trump’s signature immigration policy to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Brian Kolfage and Andrew Badolato pleaded guilty in April. Trump pardoned Bannon during his final hours in the White House. But Bannon was charged again in September by the Manhattan district attorney. The presidential pardon doesn’t encompass state prosecution.

“Shea and his co-defendants lied. And they stole over $25 million from their victims,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams.

“Months ago, this office stated our belief in the powerful and compelling evidence that showed Shea’s guilt. Today, a unanimous jury has convicted Shea on all counts in the indictment,” Williams said.

Some of the small donations did go toward partial construction of the wall. Other funds paid for plastic surgery, designer clothing, golf trips, and other luxury expenses, according to court records.

Text messages shown at his first trial showed Shea mocking donors.

“I mean, people are crazy,” he wrote on Dec. 18, 2017. “Who would throw money at something like this? At Christmas time!”

During the one-week trial, jurors heard from victims who testified about feeling duped when they realized the fundraiser was a scam.

Nicole Keller from Texas said she opened her wallet after hearing Kolfage say “every penny” raised would go toward building the wall.

“I remember being impressed at seeing that ‘100%’ — that there was a private citizen that was so committed to the task that it was something he was going to stand completely behind as we donated our money,” Keller testified.

The high school teacher said she’d felt betrayed by Kolfage, a Purple Heart recipient and triple amputee, after she found news articles casting doubt on the fund’s legitimacy.

“I was insulted that somebody had taken what should be a position of honor and valor,” said Keller. “And instead used it to defraud me.”