The luxury lifestyle of Iraq vet who 'stole' from We Build The Wall

The luxury lifestyle of triple-amputee Iraq vet and his TikTok star wife who ‘bought boats, an SUV, jewelry and plastic surgery with $350,000 that was stolen from We Build The Wall donations’

  • Brian Kolfage, 38, is the main beneficiary of the alleged scheme involving Steve Bannon and two others 
  • He took $20,000-a-month for running the We Build The Wall private effort , according to prosecutors 
  • Kolfage is a triple amputee, Purple Heart veteran who lost an arm and two legs in Iraq in 2004 
  • He and his wife Ashley married in 2011 after he returned from Iraq; she was working as a Chilli’s waitress  
  • She is now a ‘model’ with 300,000 followers on TikTok and he is an avid Trump supporter and activist 
  • She enthusiastically posts videos of their life on the Florida panhandle on her TikTok account 
  • The pair spend most of their time on their boat, with their children, or in their home which is in golf community in Miramar Beach 
  • Prosecutors say Kolfage took $350,000 from the GoFundMe which he launched in December 2018 
  • They say he spent the money on a golf cart, SUV, boat payments and ‘cosmetic surgery’ 
  • Steve Bannon, Timothy Shea and Andrew Badolato have also been charged and all face 40 years in prison 
  • Prosecutors say they lied to donors who gave more than $25million to the account by claiming the would not take any money for themselves  

The Purple Heart triple amputee Iraq veteran charged along with Steve Bannon and two others with stealing money from the We Build The Wall GoFundMe account spent $350,000 on boats, an SUV, plastic surgery, jewelry, home renovations and credit card debt, prosecutors claim. 

Prosecutors allege that Brian Kolfage, a triple amputee and celebrated war veteran, was the main beneficiary of the scheme.  

In 2018, Kolfage set up the GoFundMe account in support of President Trump and to prove the nation’s appetite for a border wall between the US and Mexico. 

It was inundated with donations from Republicans and had collected more than $20million by December that year. GoFundMe became suspicious of where the money was going and warned Kolfage to donate it to a legitimate charity or refund everyone who’d given to it. 

That is when, prosecutors say, Bannon, Timothy Shea and Andrew Badolato got involved. They used shell companies and a not-for-profit formed by Bannon to  launder the money back to Kolfage and keep some for themselves, it’s claimed. 

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Brian Kolfage, 38 ,and his wife Ashley, 33, were the main beneficiaries of the scheme, according to prosecutors. The pair live in Miramar Beach on Florida’s panhandle. They are pictured on their boat 

Kolfage launched the private wall effort in December 2018. He took it off GoFundMe recently because, he claimed, the company was not allowing him to fundraise for victims of assaults by BLM protesters

Bannon and Kolfage are pictured in a video on the We Build The Wall website 

The fund would pay the shell companies, then they would deposit the money back into accounts held by Kolfage or his wife, marking the transactions down as for ‘media’, ‘consulting’ or ‘social media’, it is alleged. 

Despite claiming on the GoFundMe that he’d ‘never take a penny’ from the donations, the indictment alleges that Kolfage took a $20,000-a-month salary from it in addition to a one-off, $100,000 payment. In total, he took $350,000, it’s claimed.

Bannon allegedly took $1million from it – some of which he used to pay Kolfage, but some he allegedly kept and spent on hotels, travel and credit card debt. 

While Bannon is the most recognizable name in the indictment, Kolfage, 38, and his wife Ashley, 33, spent the money most enthusiastically. 

The pair live with their two children in a $290,000 home in Miramar, on the Florida panhandle. 

Ashley is active on Instagram and TikTok, where she shows off their weekends on boats and driving the golf cart prosecutors claim was paid for with the stolen donation money. 

Once he’d been fitted with prosthetics, he moved to Arizona which is where he reconnected with Ashley -then a waitress at Chilli’s – having met her years earlier. 

The pair married in 2011 and welcomed two children years later. 

He lived quietly as a war hero until Trump entered the political world. Then, he became an activist. 

In December 2018, he launched the GoFundMe, saying at the time he’d grown sick of ‘too many illegals . . . taking advantage of the United States taxpayers’ and the ‘political games from both parties’. 

The couple and their children preparing to board a private flight they were gifted by a veterans charity

Kolfage during his tour of Iraq. He was an airman and had gone to fetch water when he was blasted by mortar on September 11 2004

Kolfage lost both his legs and an arm in 2004 in an attack on his air base in Iraq. He is shown after the blast. Upon his return to the US, he was given the Purple Heart 

Kolfage married Ashley, a former Chilli’s waitress, in 2011, after returning from the war. The pair lived in Arizona then moved to Florida


Kolfage with former President George Bush. He lost an arm and both his legs in 2004 in Iraq. After returning from the war, Kolfage married Ashley – a former Chilli’s waitress. They lived quietly until Trump’s political victory, when they then became vocal supporters. The pair are shown with Eric Trump (right) last February


One of the things prosecutors claim the pair spent the stolen money on was this golf cart that Ashley is seen washing in a TikTok video


Ashley describes herself as a model and influencer. She has more than 300,000 TikTok followers and often posts from the couple’s home in Miramar Beach, Florida. She is shown, left, in a video posted yesterday and right, promoting Bang – an energy drink 

It took off on an unprecedented scale, collecting $20million. 

THE SCHEME 

In 2018, Kolfage set up the GoFundMe account in support of President Trump and to prove the nation’s appetite for a border wall between the US and Mexico. 

It was inundated with donations from Republicans and had collected more than $20million by December that year. GoFundMe became suspicious of where the money was going and warned Kolfage to donate it to a legitimate charity or refund everyone who’d given to it. 

That is when, prosecutors say, Bannon, Timothy Shea and Andrew Badolato got involved. They used shell companies and We Build The Wall Inc, a not-for-profit formed by Bannon to  launder the money back to Kolfage and keep some for themselves, it’s claimed. 

The fund would pay the shell companies, then they would deposit the money back into accounts held by Kolfage or his wife, marking the transactions down as for ‘media’, ‘consulting’ or ‘social media’, it is alleged. 

Despite claiming on the GoFundMe that he’d ‘never take a penny’ from the donations, the indictment alleges that Kolfage took a $20,000-a-month salary from it in addition to a one-off, $100,000 payment. In total, he took $350,000, it’s claimed.

Bannon allegedly took $1million from it – some of which he used to pay Kolfage, but some he allegedly kept and spent on hotels, travel and credit card debt. 

It propelled Kolfage into the sphere of media and politics. He frequently tweets in support of the president and against the liberal left, trashes COVID-19 as the ‘biggest scam the world has ever seen’ and fires back at anyone who questions the progress of his wall. 

The wall that his fund was paying for is not the same one the government is building and the president has distanced himself from Kolfage’s efforts. 

It hasn’t stopped him from pushing ahead with it, even as people questioned where the money was going last May, when there had been seemingly little progress. 

Kolfage came under fire for buying a $600,000 boat that he insisted he purchased before he ever launched the fundraising account. 

It’s unclear if it’s the same boat prosecutors referred to in their indictment, that he was making payments on.

When they aren’t enjoying that boat, the pair are visiting the wall with their children, often flying privately. 

They are also flown around by Carrington, a charity that builds homes for veterans. 

On TikTok, Ashley posts frequently from their home in a bikini, for her more than 300,000 followers. 

In recent videos, she is seen dancing on a table for her husband while he sits quietly. 

He rarely appears in the videos. She did not immediately return DailyMail.com’s inquiries on Thursday morning.  

According to prosecutors, Kolfage enlisted Bannon and Andrew Badolato after GoFundMe threatened to void his online campaign. 

Bannon formed We Build The Wall Inc which he used to take money from the GoFundMe account then repay to Kolfage, according to prosecutors. 

He gave him a $100,000 one-off payment then $20,000-a-month as a salary despite claiming in the GoFundMe account that he wouldn’t take a penny.  

At times, they tried to make it look less suspicious by making some of the payments to Ashley,  labeling them as ‘media’ fees. 

In text messages, they defendants discussed the fact that the payments between the charity and Bannon’s company would show up in tax returns. Badolato told Kolfage in one text: ”Better than you or me lol’.  

Ashley posing next to the couple’s white Range Rover. An SUVis listed in the indictment as one of the things the couple allegedly bought with stolen money


She sometimes shares photos of Brian on her account. Right, she is seen dancing on their dining table for him

The pair often take their boat to Trump flotillas. Above, an image Brian shared recently on social media 

They then started paying Kolfage through Shea’s shell companies and marked them as hiring him for a service like ‘consulting’ or  ‘social media’.

The indictment alleges that in April 2019, Shea formed a company. On April 22, it received a $50,000 payment from We Build The Wall. He gave half to Kolfage. 

Steve Bannon was also indicted 

On May 21, another payment of $30,000 came to Shea’s shell company from the charity. He then gave $20,000 to Kolfage and included memos labeling the payments as ‘social media’. 

He then kept the remaining balances – $35,000. Badolato allegedly took $50,000 from the charity account and put it in a check. He gave the check to an associate who kept $30,000 of it and gave $20,000 to Kolfage.

In August 2019, Badolato facilitated a $150,000 payment from the charity to a construction contractor. That contractor gave $70,000 to Kolfage, $50,000 to Badolato and $20,000 to an attorney.

Kolfage then used the money he received on home renovations, boat payments, an SUV, a golf cart, jewelry, cosmetic surgery, personal tax payments and credit card debt.

Bannon, Shea and Badolato spent the hundreds of thousands they funnelled on travel, hotels, consumer goods and credit card debt.

Bannon, in particular, received over $1million from the fund. 

While some of that money was used to pay Kolfage, he used a ‘substantial portion’ for personal uses and expenses unrelated to We Build the Wall, the prosecutors claim. 

Trump says the indictment against Bannon and his co-defendants is ‘sad’ but that he knows nothing about it or their effort to build a border wall with publicly donated money 

Trump on Thursday said he knew nothing about the indictment but that it was ‘sad’ 

At the White House Trump denied knowing anything about the scheme and tried to distance himself from his former campaign manager.

‘I feel very badly. I haven’t been dealing with him for a very long period of time,’ he said in the Oval Office, adding: ‘I haven’t been dealing with him at all. It’s a very sad thing by Mr. Bannon.’

‘He was involved in our campaign and for a small part of our administration.’ In fact Bannon was the campaign CEO for its last 88 days after the ousting of Paul Manafort – who is now a convicted felon himself – and then was Trump’s ‘Chief Strategist,’ with a West Wing office close to the Oval Office.

He also tried to distance himself from the scheme despite its ties to his inner circle, saying: ‘I don’t like that project. I thought it was being done for showboating reasons. It was something I very much thought was inappropriate to be doing.’

The stunning indictment of a top former Trump advisor comes on Day Four of the Democratic convention, when Joe Biden is set to speak.

‘No one needed a federal indictment to know that Steve Bannon is a fraud,’ said Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield on a conference call with reporters.

Trump, she said, ‘has consistently used his office to enrich himself, his family and his cronies, so is it really any surprise that yet another one of the grifters he surrounded himself with and placed in the highest levels of government was just indicted? Sadly, it is not.’

The investigation did not involve the FBI – but did involve the U.S. Postal Inspectors. 

It was led by prosecutors from the public corruption unit of the United States Attorney’s office in Southern News York – the same unit which charged Jeffrey Esptein and arrested Ghislaine Maxwell.

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