- A federal grand jury in Florida has indicted Brian Kolfage, founder of We Build the Wall, for tax and wire fraud for failing to report "hundreds of thousands of dollars" he allegedly received through the nonprofit and other entities on his 2019 personal tax return. We Build the Wall is an organization that funds privatized wall construction at the U.S.-Mexico border.
- The indictment said that the supposed unreported income was funneled through "multiple organizations, corporations, entities and persons" before making its way into Kolfage's personal bank account.
- These charges come almost nine months after Kolfage, along with Stephen Bannon, businessman and former White House strategist under President Donald Trump, were charged with allegedly defrauding We Build the Wall donors by claiming that Kolfage received no salary from the organization and that 100% of donations would go toward its mission. According to court documents filed by the U.S. Attorney's office in the Southern District of New York, Kolfage received approximately $350,000 from We Build the Wall proceeds and Bannon allegedly received $1 million.
A notice on We Build the Wall's website said that Kolfage had pleaded not guilty to the SDNY charges and is contesting them. The notice included a link to a separate fundraising page for Kolfage where the SDNY actions against the group and Kolfage are labeled "weaponized lawfare," politically motivated and retribution for being Trump supporters.
Prior to the August 2020 indictment, We Build the Wall raised $25 million and has built two section of border wall using donations. One is located in Sunland Park, New Mexico, where permitting and a dispute with the U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission briefly held up the now-completed project in 2019.
The second section of border barrier funded by We Build the Wall is in Mission, Texas, along the Rio Grande River. North Dakota contractor Fisher Sand and Gravel built the wall, but court-ordered structural analyses delivered in September questioned the wall's stability due to erosion.
The organization said it was in the process of selecting a third border wall site when the SDNY froze its bank accounts after the August indictment.