The financial crimes investigations begin

The financial crimes investigations begin

by digby

David Fahrenthold at the WaPo is out with another scoop:

When Donald Trump wanted to make a good impression — on a lender, a business partner, or a journalist — he sometimes sent them official-looking documents called “Statements of Financial Condition.”

These documents sometimes ran up to 20 pages. They were full of numbers, laying out Trump’s properties, debts and multibillion-dollar net worth.

But, for someone trying to get a true picture of Trump’s net worth, the documents were deeply flawed. Some simply omitted properties that carried big debts. Some assets were overvalued. And some key numbers were wrong.

See the full documents here
2011 statement
2012 statement
2013 statement

For instance, Trump’s financial statement for 2011 said he had 55 home lots to sell at his golf course in Southern California. Those lots would sell for $3 million or more, the statement said.

But Trump had only 31 lots zoned and ready for sale at the course, according to city records. He claimed credit for 24 lots — and at least $72 million in future revenue — he didn’t have.

He also claimed his Virginia vineyard had 2,000 acres, when it really has about 1,200. He said Trump Tower has 68 stories. It has 58.
Trump Tower only has 58 stories, but Trump re-numbered the floors to make it seem taller.

Now, investigators on Capitol Hill and in New York are homing in on these unusual documents in an apparent attempt to determine whether Trump’s familiar habit of bragging about his wealth ever crossed a line into fraud.

The statements are at the center of at least two of the inquiries that continue to follow Trump, unaffected by the end of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation. On Wednesday, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform said it had requested 10 years of these statements from Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA.

And earlier this month, the New York state Department of Financial Services subpoenaed records from Trump’s longtime insurer, Aon. A person familiar with that subpoena, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing investigation, said “a key component” was questions about whether Trump had given Aon these documents in an effort to lower his insurance premiums.

Of course he lied on official documents. Honestly, there's just no way that he didn't.

people go to prison for things like this
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) March 28, 2019

Indeed, they do. They sent a Real Housewife and her husband to jail for exactly this sort of crime, with a whole lot less money at stake:

On July 29, 2013, Teresa and Joe Giudice were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications, and bankruptcy fraud in a 39-count indictment. The indictment also charged Joe Giudice with failure to file tax returns for tax years 2004 through 2008, during which time he allegedly earned nearly $1 million. Teresa's attorney told the Associated Press she would plead not guilty and "we look forward to vindicating her." On August 14, 2013, the two pleaded not guilty in federal court to financial fraud charges.

On March 4, 2014, Teresa and Joe entered a guilty plea to 41 counts of fraud, following a deal struck with federal prosecutors. The couple was accused of engaging in bank, mail, wire, and bankruptcy fraud, which allegedly saw them net over $5 million over a 10-year period. On October 2, 2014, Teresa was sentenced to 15 months in a federal prison; Joe was sentenced to 41 months, followed by potential deportation to Italy. Together, the couple must also pay $414,000 in restitution.

They have ruled that Joe Giudice will be deported to Italy. He has been here since he was an infant.

Now, we know that the people who perpetrated fraud on their customers in the foreclosure crisis pretty much got off scot-free. We didn't want to look in the rearview mirror. And that was a huge mistake.

And now we have another Reality Show star who happens to be president, apparently involved in similar criminal activity. This is what happens when there is no accountability for very wealthy white-collar criminals.