Steve Bannon, an architect of Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory, was arrested on a yacht on Thursday and pleaded not guilty after he was charged with defrauding donors in a scheme to help build the president’s signature wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Bannon, 66, was among four people arrested and charged by federal prosecutors in Manhattan with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

A top adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign who later served as White House chief strategist, Bannon helped articulate the “America First” right-wing populism and fierce opposition to immigration that have been hallmarks of Trump’s 3-1/2 years in office. Trump fired Bannon from his White House post in August 2017.

Investigators allege that the group of conservative officlas defrauded donors, which led to raising “more than 25 million U.S. dollars to build a wall along the southern border of the United States.”

Prosecutors claim the defendants “collectively received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donor funds from ‘We Build the Wall,’ which they each used in a manner inconsistent with the organization’s public representations,” according to the indictment.

The four people each face up to 40 years in prison if convicted, but would likely get much shorter sentences.

Source: CGTN

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