Miramar Beach wounded warrior behind We Build The Wall facing third federal charge

Jim Thompson
Northwest Florida Daily News

MIRAMAR BEACH — Brian Kolfage, the local wounded warrior already under federal indictment in Florida on two tax charges, has been indicted on a third federal charge in the state, according to a Thursday announcement from the acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

Kolfage, who also is charged in federal court in the Southern District of New York with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in a 2020 grand jury indictment, now faces an additional charge in Florida of filing a false tax return.

Kolfage was first indicted in Florida in May by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court on charges of filing a false tax return and wire fraud in connection with the electronic filing of that return.

Kolfage, who has long maintained that the charges against him have been politically motivated because of his conservative views, maintained that posture in Thursday comments on the latest indictment.

The latest indictment charges Kolfage with an additional count of filing a false tax return. In a news release, acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida Jason R. Coody said the latest charge involves an amended 2019 tax return he filed in December of last year, just a few months after his August indictment by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.  

"This proves they are targeting me, like I have said the entire time," Kolfage said in a text message responding to a Daily News request for comment. "My amended return that was filed in December 2019 was wrong according to the IRS, so they added another bogus charge. God forbid anyone have errors on their taxes." 

Previously: Brian Kolfage enters not guilty plea on federal tax charges, greets supportive crowd 

Broadly, both the Florida and New York charges have at their root an alleged scheme in which some of the money contributed by donors to a Kolfage-created nonprofit organization collecting funds for private construction of sections of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border were improperly steered to him.

An Air Force veteran who lost both legs and an arm in a 2004 rocket attack in Iraq, and who in civilian life became involved with a number of politically conservative initiatives, Kolfage is alleged to have received $350,000 in the scheme involving his Florida-based nonprofit We Build The Wall Inc.

Politically motivated? Kolfage says politics, misunderstanding behind fraud conspiracy indictment

Another original defendant in the New York case, former Trump White House political strategist Steve Bannon, is alleged to have taken $1 million in the scheme. But Bannon was pardoned by outgoing President Donald Trump in the waning hours of his administration.

With regard to the federal charges handed down in Florida, Kolfage previously had told the Daily News that he had filed the amended return because he had neglected to include income he had received as a consultant to political campaigns.

Brian Kolfage (right) talks with supporters outside U.S. District Court in Pensacola last month following his arraignment on federal tax charges. Kolfage was recently indicted on another federal tax charge in the Northern District of Florida.

However, Kolfage would not provide the Daily News with a copy of that amended tax return, nor would he say what political campaigns had paid him.

If convicted of all of the charges, Kolfage could spend decades in jail. He has pleaded not guilty in both the New York and Florida federal courts, and had been scheduled for trial next month on the original Northern District of Florida indictment.

A trial in the Southern District of New York is expected late this year, according to documents filed in that court.

Kolfage's arraignment on the latest Northern District of Florida indictment is scheduled for 11 a.m. July 21 at the federal courthouse in Pensacola. According to the Thursday news release, the case "was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services."