Steve Bannon pleads not guilty to massive fraud operation

Former Trump campaign chief executive Steve Bannon has pled not guilty to charges of wire fraud and money laundering. He has been freed on a bond of $5 million and ordered to remain in the US pending trial.

Bannon entered his pleas at a federal court in Manhattan on Thursday, after he was arrested earlier in the day. Together with three associates he is accused of scamming $25 million in donations through a crowdfunding initiative that promised to pay for a wall along the US’ Mexican border.

According to the indictment against him, Bannon bilked hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the crowdfunding campaign for his own use. All four men allegedly used a network of shell companies to reroute the money from Bannon’s nonprofit organization to their own pockets.

The four are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The crimes carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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