Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist for President Donald Trump, was aboard a yacht off the Connecticut coast when he was arrested and taken into custody for allegedly defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors.
Bannon was on the yacht named "Lady May" off Westbrook, in Middlesex County, Connecticut on Thursday morning, Aug. 20 when six federal agents representing the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and a member of the United States Coast Guard who were aboard a Coast Guard marine unit arrived to serve Bannon his subpoena.
The 150-foot yacht, owned by Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, was anchored just off West Beach in Westbrook, which is located directly east of Madison and Clinton and just west of Old Saybrook. (See second image above.)
Guo, who controls Beijing Zenith Holdings through proxies, fled to the United States in late 2014 after being accused of corruption and other crimes.
Three others were also charged for the online crowdfunding GoFundMe scheme called “We Build the Wall,” which raised more than $25 million, according to the SDNY.
Also charged were the founder and spokesman for the group, Brian Kolfage, 38, of Miramar Beach, Florida, as well as Timothy Shea, 49, of Castle Rock, Colorado, and Andrew Badolato, 56, of Sarasota, Florida.
They were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
"The defendants allegedly engaged in fraud when they misrepresented the true use of donated funds," Inspector-in-Charge Philip R. Bartlett said in a statement. "As alleged, not only did they lie to donors, they schemed to hide their misappropriation of funds by creating sham invoices and accounts to launder donations and cover up their crimes, showing no regard for the law or the truth.
"This case should serve as a warning to other fraudsters that no one is above the law, not even a disabled war veteran or a millionaire political strategist.”
Bannon was scheduled to be arraigned late Thursday afternoon in Manhattan.
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