ProPublica Report Details How Donald Trump Kept “Two Sets of Books,” and May Have Committed Financial Fraud
ProPublica recently reported that it had obtained previously unrevealed tax documents from President Trump that contain alarming information and inconsistencies that could indicate financial fraud.
The documents were in the records kept for four Trump properties in NYC- Trump International Hotel and Tower, 40 Wall Street, Trump Tower, and 1290 Avenue of the Americas.
The 40 Wall Street property and the Trump International Hotel and Tower both had tax records that contained red flag-raising inconsistencies, namely, the fact that the numbers reported made the property seem more valuable to lenders than it did to tax authorities and officials.
According to ProPublica, in 2017 Trump claimed to a lender that he got TWICE the amount in rent from one building than he had reported to tax authorities in that same year.
Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley’s Nancy Wallace, a professor of finance and real estate, told ProPublica that the discrepancies looked to her like “versions of fraud.”
Obviously this is not Trump’s first foray into the world of financial scandals. In 2018, The New York Times reported that Trump had been at the heart of a plethora of questionable tax schemes and had used them to shield and alarmingly large inheritance in the amount of $400 MILLION from the IRS.
In 2019, Mother Jones published an investigation showing the possibility that Trump lied about a loan to avoid income tax payments totaling $50 million. Starting to sound like fraud yet?
Of course Trump denies any criminal or fraudulent behavior but STILL refuses to release his tax returns, long claiming that they have been under audit. It’s important to note, however, that even IF they are under audit, that’s still no reason he couldn’t release them.
Trump may soon be out of wiggle room. US District Judge Victor Marrero has ruled that Trump would have to turn over eight years worth of tax returns to NY prosecutors for their investigation into his whether or not he violated any state laws by making up business records.
And just days after that, another blow to Trump’s desire to withhold the tax returns when the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ordered the president to hand over the past eight years of tax returns to the House Oversight Committee on the basis that they have the right to see them.
Trump’s team of lawyers claim that if the need arises, they are willing to take this battle to the Supreme Court.
The public at large would very much like to see these tightly held records as well and now thanks to an IRS employee who recently divulged facts about “inappropriate efforts to influence” the audit of Trump’s tax returns. The Washington Post said that the person accused of such interference is a political appointee at the Treasury Department.
Former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Cramer, who spent over a decade at the Justice Department, said that there are a very limited amount of government officials who would even have access to Trump or Pence’s tax information.
“The president’s and vice president’s tax returns are kept in a top-secret vault… It’s code-word-protected, the whole nine yards, and not just anyone can get in there. There are very few people — the head of the Treasury, the head of the IRS — who have access.”
Lastly, how could anyone forget that Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime former lawyer turned federal prison inmate, also said that Trump altered his tax and loan records. Cohen’s allegations correlate to those announced by ProPublica, as well.
Financial experts agree- Kevin Riordan, an expert in finance and professor of real-estate at Montclair State University said, “it really feels like there’s two sets of book… It’s hard to argue numbers. That’s black and white.”