Former White House adviser Steve Bannon has been arrested on charges that he and three others ripped off donors to an online fundraising scheme called We Build The Wall.
The charges were contained in an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court.
Federal prosecutors alleged that Bannon and three others “orchestrated a scheme to defraud hundreds of thousands of donors” in connection with an online crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $25m (£19m) to build a wall along the southern border of the United States.
A spokesperson for Bannon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the indictment, Bannon promised that 100% of the donated money would be used for the project, but the defendants collectively used hundreds of thousands of dollars in a manner inconsistent with the organisation’s public representations.
The indictment said they faked invoices and sham “vendor” arrangements, among other ways, to hide what was really happening.
Before he was chosen to lead Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign in its critical final months, Bannon led Breitbart News.
After Trump was elected, he moved on to a top White House strategy post. That position ended in August 2017.
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?