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'We Build The Wall' founder denied lavish lifestyle in interview last Summer

We Build The Wall founder, Brian Kolfage, and former President Trump advisor, Steve Bannon among those indicted on defrauding donors who gave money to build the border wall.

In May of 2019, former advisor to President Trump, Steve Bannon and others were in Sunland Park, New Mexico, to break ground and quickly build a portion of the privately funded border wall.

Donations came from the online crowdfunding campaign “We Build The Wall”.

Florida investigators in 2019 were reportedly looking into complaints from donors about how their money was being used.

CBS4 asked the organization’s founder Brian Kolfage about these accusations in May 2019, he denied the allegations.

“With all the fake news that said I’m buying yachts and jets and flying all over the damn place, it’s completely untrue and as you can see here we’re putting this money to good use,” said "We Build The Wall" founder, Brian Kolfage in 2019.

Thursday, New York prosecutors released indictment claims that the men used the donations for a “lavish lifestyle”.

The indictment accused Bannon of using more than $1 million from "We Build The Wall" to pay Kolfage. The indictment accuses Kolfage of spending more than $350,000 on personal expenses, including a boat and a luxury SUV.

Bannon, Kolfage and two others were arrested Thursday. They are scheduled to appear in court on the same day.

Bannon pleaded not guilty in border wall scheme.

As of Thursday morning, the “We Build The Wall” website’s donation tab had been shut down.

El Paso's U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar gave the following statement on the charges brought against the "We Build The Wall" organizers:

“El Paso and communities along the southern border have historically been among the safest communities in the nation. Despite that fact, the Trump administration has portrayed border communities as threatening and unsafe and has routinely used them as a prop for some of the cruelest anti-immigrant and xenophobic policies in our generation.
“The Trump administration’s obsession with a border wall – central to an erroneous national security and immigration narrative – has only served to provide red meat for his base, and we’ve now learned, as an opportunity for his supporters to profit off racism.
“Border walls have never been a solution. They are a waste of taxpayer money, an environmental disaster, and a symbol of division and hate. As more information comes to light about the “We Build the Wall” fraudulent scheme, I hope the American people realize the harm this administration has caused border communities like El Paso by eroding the values our country was founded on.”

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