NEW YORK — A Colorado businessman and Steve Bannon pal convicted of siphoning donations meant to fund a wall on the U.S. southern border — a signature goal of ex-President Donald Trump — was sentenced Tuesday to 5 1/4 years in prison.
Timothy Shea, 52, owner of a company that sells the energy drink “Winning Energy,” which describes itself as “Liberal Tears Made in America,” was one of four men federal authorities charged in the scheme in November 2020.
His first trial ended in a mistrial last year after a juror alleged a “government witch hunt” by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office and accused his fellow jurors of being biased New York liberals.
A jury convicted Shea at a second trial in October 2022, finding he defrauded donors to the online crowdfunding campaign “We Build The Wall,” which promised to devote “every penny raised” to its effort.
The face of the campaign, triple-amputee Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage, who received a term of 4¼ years after pleading guilty to the scheme, had promised not to take “a penny in salary or compensation.”
“Mr. Shea was familiar with his codefendants’ promises and representations and knew that they were false,” Manhattan Federal Judge Analisa Torres said before imposing the sentence.
“Through the use of shell companies, Mr. Shea kicked back a quarter of a million dollars to Mr. Kolfage and kept more than $180,000 for himself,” the judge added, noting he joined the others in taking steps to conceal their scheme.
Shea asked Torres for leniency.
“I do want to tell you that I do regret what has happened here,” he said, asking the judge to consider his teenage children and view him differently than “how the government is portraying me.”
“It’s very different from the person that I am. Again, I regret all of the ‘We Build The Wall’ stuff, but I pray, I ask that you would be lenient and consider the kids.”
Bannon received a federal pardon from Trump just before he left office, but has since been charged by the Manhattan district attorney. He’s expected to go on trial in Manhattan Supreme Court next May in the “We Build The Wall” scheme.
“Timothy Shea abused the trust of donors to ‘We Build the Wall,’ stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to line his own pockets, and attempted to obstruct the federal investigation of his criminal conduct,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.
“The defendant has now been held accountable and faces prison time for his crimes.”
Shea’s attorney did not return a call seeking comment.