Sarasota County man charged in federal border wall fraud scheme with former President Trump adviser

Updated: Aug. 20, 2020 at 9:12 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -Four men, including a former Trump adviser, are being charged federally and accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from donors to the “We Build The Wall” crowdfunding campaign. Among those charged is a Sarasota County man named Andrew ‘Andy’ Badolato.

ABC7 went to Badolato’s former home and neighbors tell us the home went into foreclosure a few months ago and has since been demolished. Court records obtained by ABC7 confirmed the foreclosure of the Badolato’s Casey Key home.

As Badolato exited the federal courthouse in Tampa following his initial appearance in the fraud case on Thursday, reporters asked him if he did something wrong.

Indictment documents obtained by ABC7 accuse Badolato, Stephen Bannon, Timothy Shea, and Brian Kolfage of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a “We Build The Wall” crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $25 million.

“I didn’t like it. It was showboating and maybe looking for funds. But you’ll have to see what happens,” said President Trump on Thursday.

Federal records state the defendants spent money on the construction of a portion of the border wall from donor funds but are accused of wiring part of the money to a non-profit account to spend for personal use.

Court documents show Badolato and Bannon worked together in that other non-profit account. Beyond that, they also have history together that have made headlines. Bannon while living in Washington D.C. and helping in President Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 registered to vote in Sarasota County under Badolato’s address.

All four men are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. If convicted they could face up to forty years in federal prison.

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