Two men are headed to federal prison after duping investors to donate money to their “We Build the Wall” campaign. Brian Kolfage, an airforce veteran who lost was injured in Irag, formed a non-profit organization designed to raise money for completing the border wall. Mr. Kolfage, who lost both legs and part of an arm in Iraq, was the group’s public face, pledging that all money raised would go toward a wall between the United States and Mexico and that he would “not take a penny of compensation.” After learning that a donation to the federal government was not feasible, he funds from the effort were misappropriated for salaries, compensation, and other personal gain. The fundraising effort reached as high as $25 million dollars.
Under federal law, that constitutes fraud because the funds were only donated under the auspices of a donation for the purpose of building the wall.
Judge Analisa Torres of Federal District Court in Manhattan sentenced Mr. Badolato to three years in prison and Mr. Kolfage to four years and three months, saying their crimes had a “chilling effect on civic participation” in politics. Before being sentenced, Mr. Kolfage said that he was “disgusted, humiliated” by his crimes, adding: “I’m deeply sorry for my actions.”
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