We Build the Wall leaders Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato plead guilty to corruption charges

191
2
We Build the Wall leaders Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato plead guilty to corruption charges

We Build the Wall campaign crowd-funders Brian Kolfage and Andrew Badolato pleaded guilty Thursday to corruption charges for their roles in pocketing donations that were intended to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Kolfage, 39, and Badolato, 57, each pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which has a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Kolfage, a triple-amputee Air Force veteran, pleaded guilty to tax and wire fraud charges.

The two men worked together with Steve Bannon, who served as White House chief strategist during the Trump administration, and was also indicted in connection with the wall-crowding effort. Bannon pleaded not guilty but was later pardoned by then-President Donald Trump.

One of the campaign leaders who was not pardoned by Trump — Timothy Shea — has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

In December 2018, the men allegedly co-managed a scheme that raised more than $25 million by defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors who helped build a wall along the southern border of the United States, one of Trump's campaign promises.

Kolfage repeatedly assured the public that he would not take a penny in salary, and that 100 of the fund raised. According to the indictment, the indictment says that we will be used in the execution of our mission and purpose.

The indictment said that he covertly took more than $350,000 for his personal use, while Bannon used a nonprofit under his control to get $1 million from the campaign to pay Kolfage and personal expenses.

According to the indictment, Bannon falsely claimed that the campaign was a volunteer organization.

Federal prosecutors said that the defendants used fake invoices and'sham' vendor agreements to route hundreds of thousands of dollars from We Build the Wall to pay for their personal expenses.

Kolfage and Badolato are scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 6.

NBC News reached out to their attorneys for comment.