Brian Kolfage, the person behind We Build the Wall, an organisation soliciting private donations to fund a border wall between the US and Mexico, has been indicted for tax fraud.
The charges filed in Florida allege that between January 2019 and July 2020, Kolfage received hundreds of thousands of dollars from multiple sources, including We Build the Wall, that were deposited into his personal bank account and not disclosed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
It is alleged that Kolfage planned to defraud the government in relation to his 2019 federal income tax returns; he faces a separate charge of fraud and money laundering related offences in New York.
Jason Coody, acting US attorney, said: "The US relies on the payment of taxes to defend our country and maintain its operations. We will investigate and prosecute those who falsely misrepresent their income, whether by traditional evasion or failing to disclose charitable contributions diverted to their personal gain."
Brian Payne, an IRS special agent, added: "IRS Special Agents are particularly interested in cases where someone for his own personal benefit has taken what belonged to others. We encourage everyone to practice due diligence when donating their hard-earned money."
Kolfage will appear in court in Pensacola, Florida on May 27, 2021. If convicted, Kolfage faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment.
The case was investigated by the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and Florida’s Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement.
We Build The Wall was founded in 2019. Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon is chair of the advisory board.
Image Â©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier