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United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
December 14, 2020, Decided; December 14, 2020, Filed
20 Cr. 412 (AT)
ANALISA TORRES, District Judge:
Defendant Timothy Shea moves for an order transferring his case to the District of Colorado. Non-parties, We Build the Wall, Inc. ("We Build the Wall") and Kris Kobach, in his individual capacity and as general counsel for We Build the Wall, move for an order (1) modifying the sealed post-indictment restraining order issued on August 24, 2020, which prohibits the transfer of certain funds involved in Defendants' charged offenses, and (2) unsealing certain [*2] documents. For the reasons stated below, both motions are DENIED.
On August 17, 2020, a grand jury returned a sealed indictment charging Defendants, Brian Kolfage, Stephen Bannon, Andrew Badolato, and Timothy Shea, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h). Indictment, ECF No. 2. The indictment alleges that Defendants fraudulently induced donors to contribute millions of dollars to an online crowdfunding campaign known as We Build the Wall. The indictment further alleges that Kolfage, Badolato, and Bannon made repeated false statements—on the crowdfunding website, We Build the Wall's website, and in social media, press releases, and donor solicitations—that money from the fundraising campaign would not be taken for Defendants' personal use, and that all funds would go to the campaign's stated mission: building a wall along the southern border of the United States. Id. ¶¶ 1, 9, 11-14. Despite these representations, Defendants allegedly took hundreds of thousands of dollars for their own personal use. Id. ¶ 17. We Build the Wall raised approximately $25,000,000. Id. ¶ 16.
As to Shea, the indictment alleges [*3] that he conspired to transfer to Defendants the funds raised by dint of the false statements. Id. ¶ 2. Shea, a Colorado resident, allegedly suggested via text message to Defendants that he create a shell corporation to send money to himself and Kolfage. Id. ¶ 20; Def. Mem. at 4. Consistent with this alleged proposal, Shea incorporated a limited liability corporation, which We Build the Wall then paid for "social media" work that was not performed. Indictment ¶ 21. These funds were then funneled to Shea and Kolfage. Id. The indictment further contemplates that if Defendants were convicted, they would have to forfeit certain property involved in the alleged crimes under 18 U.S.C. § 981(a)(1)(C) and 28 U.S.C. § 2461(c). Indictment ¶¶ 34-35. The indictment was unsealed on August 20, 2020. ECF No. 3.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 234554 *; 2020 WL 7342796
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, -against- BRIAN KOLFAGE, STEPHEN BANNON, ANDREW BADOLATO, and TIMOTHY SHEA, Defendants.
Subsequent History: Later proceeding at United States v. Kolfage, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 237594 (S.D.N.Y., Dec. 17, 2020)
Motion denied by, Without prejudice United States v. Kolfage, 537 F. Supp. 3d 559, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86113, 2021 WL 1792052 (S.D.N.Y., May 5, 2021)
Claim dismissed by United States v. Kolfage, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98819, 2021 WL 2117211 (S.D.N.Y., May 25, 2021)
Appeal dismissed by United States v. We Build the Wall, Inc., 850 Fed. Appx. 125, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 18340, 2021 WL 2525566 (2d Cir. N.Y., June 21, 2021)
Motion denied by United States v. Shea, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4493, 2022 WL 95091 (S.D.N.Y., Jan. 10, 2022)
Motion granted by United States v. Shea, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 193426 (S.D.N.Y., Oct. 23, 2022)
restraining order, weighs, indictment, forfeiture, third party, witnesses, funds, unseal, seal, documents, forfeitability, conspiracy, due process, factors, parties, travel, post-indictment, transferred, intervene, courts, probable cause, Modification, Defendants', disruption, forfeiture of property, forfeiture proceeding, subject to forfeiture, ancillary proceeding, interest of justice, motion to transfer