A recent New York Times story about Trump family tax fraud has opened tax probes in several states and may lead to Trump owing hundreds of millions of dollars. Although it is unlikely the president or anyone in his family will be charged with crimes, it is very possible that they may owe so much money that Trump family assets may have to be liquidated to pay their debts. If this happens the president, his siblings, and his children could all be in serious financial trouble.
Recently the New Yorker magazine published an in-depth article on this issue, written by an expert on Trump family fraud, Adam Davidson. In the article Davidson revealed how deep the “criminal enterprise” ran by Fred Trump went and how Donald Trump could soon find himself facing major financial difficulties.
According to Davidson, the New York Times‘s report that uncovered massive Trump tax fraud was the beginning, not the end, of the saga. “The story’s not over,” Davidson told Chris Hayes on his MSNBC show Monday.
“It’s not that they found one time there was massive fraud,” Davidson told Hayes. “What they found is at the core of the Trump Organization was decades and decades of unimaginably blatant fraud, creating false companies to pretend to buy hundreds of, millions and millions of dollars worth of equipment.“
“It also shows that Donald Trump himself added virtually no value to the company,” Davidson added.
“Trump’s businesses in New York, New Jersey, Florida, California, Virginia — these are states that either likely will have or could well have Democratic attorneys general who have every right to seek both criminal investigations for tax fraud as well as to start reclaiming money,” Davidson said. “The Trump family might owe as much as $400 million just in New York state tax, forget about federal taxes, Virginia taxes, Florida taxes.”
“What the New York Times found is unbelievable documentary evidence through 2004 of ongoing schemes for decades,” he noted. The exact same people continued to run the Trump Organization. We have no evidence that they change their strategy.”
Though the Times acquired the mountain of data that led to the bombshell investigative article, its reporters “don’t have subpoena power” — but prosecutors do, Davidson observed.
According to Davidson, the clock on the statute of limitations starts when Trump “ceased all evasive activity” and it’s not clear if that has ever happened. So Trump may actually be open to may criminal and civil penalties as well as unpaid taxes.
“The courts are very clear that while the statute of limitations for criminal tax fraud is generally six years, it’s six years from the last effort to conceal. I think a prosecutor would have a fairly easy time saying, no no, this is an ongoing criminal enterprise,” Davidson concluded.
Davidson is right, because already the New York attorney general has begun an investigation into the Trump family foundation for criminal behavior. After the Times article appeared they said they would “vigorously” pursue unpaid taxes and penalties owed by Trump. The mayor of New York City also said he would seek payment for taxes and penalties the president and his family may owe.
Other states where Trump does business, such as Florida, New Jersey and California, may also begin new investigations into Trump tax fraud.
In New Jersey the Democratic attorney general, Gurbir Grewal, said, “if there’s any indication of any criminal activity, or anything like that, we’ll use the powers at our disposal to investigate. We have a lot of tools at our disposal.”
If Democrats win a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, they will be able to direct investigations—and issue subpoenas— concerning many potential Trump federal crimes also.
The Times investigation revealed that Donald Trump’s wealth came from his father, who committed large-scale tax and financial fraud to obtain that wealth.
It is now clear that Trump and his family might owe many hundred of millions dollars in unpaid taxes, interest, and penalties to state and city governments. He may have comparable amounts owed to the U.S. Treasury also.
In short, there is a very good chance that, to pay his debts, Donald Trump may eventually have to hold a ‘fire sale’ and liquidate his precious real estate assets. This may generate cash to pay his debt, but it could also completely wipe out his family fortune.
For Donald Trump, there is no question that the fear of losing money is more terrifying to him than anything else.
Which means that right now he should be very, very afraid.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.
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