Timothy Shea is a 49-year-old Castle Rock, Colorado, man who was charged Thursday along with former Trump advisor Steve Bannon and two other men with defrauding donors to the We Build the Wall fundraising campaign to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The four men “secretly schemed to pass hundreds of thousands of dollars to [co-defendant Brian Kolfage], which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle,” federal prosecutors said.
Here’s what you need to know about Shea:
1. Shea Lives in Castle Rock, Colorado, With His Wife Amanda & Runs a Pro-Trump Energy Drink Company, As Well As a Community Facebook Page
According to public records, Shea is 49 years old and lives in Castle Rock, Colorado, with his wife, Amanda. He currently works as a realtor, according to public records, and also owns a pro-Trump themed energy drink company called Winning Energy.
The company’s website described the product as “the official fuel of winners” and 12-ounce energy drinks made from “liberal tears made in America.”
The articles of organization filed with Colorado state list Timothy as the registered agent of Winning Energy. Amanda’s Instagram page lists her as working at the company as well.
Timothy and Amanda also run a community Facebook page for residents of Castle Rock called Top of the Rock.
The Sheas say on the page that they are “fully invested in this area [they] absolutely love, having even established [their] own real estate business” there.
“Top of the Rock isn’t just a community page, it’s a page where we can talk, laugh, learn and celebrate this incredible place we get to call home, as an actual community,” they wrote. “We love local business and events and welcome everyone’s suggestions, feedback, tips and ideas.”
The Sheas’ last post on the page was about sending their children back to school during the coronavirus pandemic, complaining of a “some days on and some off” schedule for in-classroom learning.
2. His Wife is Listed as the Chief Financial Officer of We Build the Wall on Its Website
Amanda Shea is part of the leadership team with We Build the Wall, according to the organization’s website. On the website, she is described as a social media director, political commentator and journalist.
Her Twitter page describes her as chief financial officer for We Build the Wall.
One of her current projects is listed on the We Build the Wall website as Fight4FreeSpeech.com, but the website appears to be currently inactive.
3. According to the Indictment, Shea Ran a Shell Company Through Which We Build the Wall Money Was Routed to Kolfage
According to the federal indictment, Shea ran a shell company through which donor money meant to build the Mexican border wall was routed, eventually ending up with Kolfage.
They used fake invoices and “vendor” arrangements to make sure that Kolfage’s pay arrangement was confidential and on a “need to know” basis, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors allege Shea ran one of the fake vendors and came up with the idea of paying himself and Kolfage out of a “veiled” shell company he ran. In text messages and emails, Shea and Kolfage conspired to have the money be paid out to Kolfage from the shell company for the stated purpose of “social media,” according to the indictment.
Shea, Kolfage, Bannon and co-defendant Andrew Badolato raised $17 million within the first week of We Build the Wall’s inception, and hundreds of thousands of dollars went into their pockets, according to the indictment. Kolfage took a “secret” $20,000 monthly salary, prosecutors alleged. Shea would keep the remaining balance of the payments to the shell company after Kolfage was paid, according to the indictment.
A local NBC affiliate reported in December 2018 that donation checks for We Build the Wall were being directed to a P.O. box in Castle Rock owned by the Sheas.
Amanda told the outlet that she met Kolfage in 2015 and started working on a conservative news site with him, then got on board with We Build the Wall.
Kolfage “is a triple amputee veteran. For him to get out and run all these errands and stuff is really not that feasible for him,” Shea told the outlet. “Plus, my husband and I are more focused on the back-end stuff, so we said, ‘No problem, we’ll set it up’.”
4. Timothy & Amanda Shea in 2018 Also Set Up a GoFundMe Called ‘Fight 4 Free Speech’ Which No Longer Exists
In an October 2018 Facebook post — before the We Build the Wall campaign began — Timothy announced that he and Amanda also started a GoFundMe called “Fight 4 Free Speech.” The site is inactive now.
The campaign also appears to have had a Twitter account, which is now suspended.
In the post, Fight 4 Free Speech was described as a campaign to “hold the Facebook ‘giant’ accountable” for silencing conservatives online and lobbying Congress to legislate the social media network.
In the Facebook post, Timothy and Amanda wrote, “We’re just one week into our activism campaign and are blown away at the amount of support we’ve received from Americans across the country.”
“In just one week, we’re already more than halfway to our goal, proving that it’s not just us who are fed up with unjust censorship, it’s thousands of people on both sides of the political aisle,” they wrote. “I’m seriously touched and honored by so many citizens.”
The campaign appeared connected to We Build the Wall, based on its Facebook page, which hasn’t posted anything new since November 2018.
The page posted purported live videos of portions of the wall built thanks to the campaign, as well as numerous videos featuring Bannon.
5. Shea Faces 2 Federal Charges, Each Carrying a Maximum of 20 Years in Prison
Timothy, Bannon, Kolfage and Badolato each were charged with a count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, prosecutors said. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Phillip Bartlett, Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, who is prosecuting the case with Acting Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss, said in a statement that the four men lied to donors and “schemed to hide their misappropriation of funds” and showed “no regard for the law or the truth.”
“This case should serve as a warning to other fraudsters that no one is above the law, not even a disabled war veteran or a millionaire political strategist,” Bartlett added.
Heavy reached out to We Build the Wall for comment but did not immediately hear back. Attorney information for She was not available.