More Indictments For Political PAC “We Build The Wall”
“We Build the Wall” was a crowdfunded effort to ensure that Donald Trump’s notorious Mexico-U.S. border wall was built. The wall was never built and now the federal government is saying that funds raised in an effort to secure the border were diverted to the personal coffers of those who managed the fund.
One of these individuals was a former war veteran and a triple amputee. Others included former Chief of Staff Steve Bannon. Others around the crowdfunding effort have also been indicted. More indictments appear likely as the federal government has taken a keen interest in all parties who were involved with this PAC. Recently, Brian Kolfage was charged in a separate indictment for falsifying information on his tax return and failing to report stolen income from the PAC.
Tallying up the charges
The “We Build the Wall” effort was targeted by the federal government after donations from the PAC found their way into the personal checking account of the group’s president. He is charged with defrauding donors, money laundering, and falsifying his tax return.
Tax evasion has a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison and a potential fine of up to $1 million. Money laundering is a form of fraud that is usually tacked onto other charges. In this case, the fraud stems from deceiving donors. A criminal defendant accused of money laundering will face charges for whatever crime they were attempting to conceal and can be forced to pay up to twice the value of the laundered money.
Of the crimes alleged to have been committed, the most serious is wire fraud. Essentially, the defendants are accused of telling donors their money was going to be used for political activism when their money was really used to fatten the wallets of those involved with the fund. This type of fraud involves premeditation and ongoing deception as well as deceiving the federal government concerning how the income was attained. The maximum sentence for wire fraud is 20 years in federal prison.
Federal sentencing guidelines and wire fraud
Various forms of fraud are charged basically the same way and only differ based on how the fraud was conducted. Fraud that involves a bank will lengthen a fraud sentence. In most fraud cases, the length of the sentence is related to the amount of money that was defrauded. It often helps criminal defendants charged with fraud to have a full accounting of the money taken to reduce any potential sentence they might receive. The defendants may also argue that they did not intend to defraud the victims or that any of the statements made were not “materially false”. This may be more useful to Bannon and others involved in the scheme, but the president of the PAC had donor money in his bank account which will make any defense effort more difficult.
Talk to a Tampa, FL Fraud Defense Attorney
Fraud is a serious crime with a substantial sentence. The Tampa criminal attorneys at The Matassini Law Firm have successfully saved our clients decades of prison time based on our complex understanding of the federal sentencing guideline and how to effectively argue for a reduced sentence. We often use experts in multiple fields of sciences, academics, and advocacy to achieve the best result possible. We can also help those who are involved in a scheme prove that they were not part of a broader conspiracy to defraud donors. Call today to learn more or visit us at www.matassinilaw.com .