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Federal prosecutors on Thursday charged Steve Bannon - with defrauding donors of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a border wall fundraising campaign.
The one-time senior advisor to President Donald Trump is among four people charged with wire fraud - according to the Justice Department - in connection with a $25 million crowdfunding campaign dubbed - "We Build the Wall."
When asked for comments regarding Bannon's arrest on Thursday, President Donald Trump called the situation “sad" but distanced himself from the organization.
"I didn't like that project. I thought that was a project being done for showboating reasons. I didn't know he was in charge. I didn't know any of the other people either."
Manhattan federal prosecutors allege Bannon and the three others "received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donor funds from We Build the Wall, which they each used in a manner inconsistent with the organization’s public representations."
Bannon was arrested on Thursday aboard a 150-foot-long yacht in Connecticut, according to a law enforcement source.
Prosecutors said donors believed the money would go toward helping to build Trump's signature border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border but instead the indictment alleges Bannon - who helped articulate Trump's fierce opposition to immigration as a top adviser to Trump's presidential campaign and later as chief White House strategist - received more than $1 million of that money through a nonprofit.
While the defendants repeatedly assured donors that Brian Kolfage - the founder and public face of We Build the Wall, would not be paid a cent, Kolfage, a triple amputee U.S. Air Force veteran, actually received $350,000 that he used to fund a lavish lifestyle, according to prosecutors.
All four defendants face up to 40 years in prison.