Trump Family Criminal Probe Grows With Hiring Of Top Fraud Investigator

0
1067

As outlined in new reporting from CNN, the ongoing criminal investigation of the Trump Organization by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance now includes a former forensic accountant with the FBI who was a central player in the Russia investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The accountant and fraud investigator in question, Morgan Magionos, is working with Vance’s office on a team of outside experts from FTI Consulting, which Vance originally tapped to assist in the probe last year, according to CNN.

Magionos, who left federal employment in 2019, helped build the criminal case against ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was charged with criminal activity including bank fraud and filing false tax returns before eventually receiving a pardon from Trump when the former president was in office. As explained by CNN, Magionos “testified that she uncovered several foreign bank accounts linked to Manafort and traced $15 million in transfers that Manafort used to fund his personal lifestyle, including an ostrich-skin jacket and landscaping services for his home in the Hamptons.” Anyone in Trump’s orbit hiding suspicious financial transactions might have reason to worry.

Vance’s team has been examining potential fraud at the Trump Organization, which is suspected of potentially fraudulently adjusting the valuations of its assets in order to secure financial benefits like favorable loan terms and tax breaks. Vance’s investigation has so far enjoyed the cooperation of key players including former longtime Trump fixer Michael Cohen and Jennifer Weisselberg, the former daughter-in-law of Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg. Jennifer has turned over at least a couple rounds of evidence to authorities, including a recent transfer in the wake of a grand jury subpoena for the materials.

Besides the potential fraudulent valuation adjustments, the Trump Organization and its top figures have also been under investigation for issues including whether financial support from the company for the Weisselbergs was appropriately reported to tax authorities. Allen’s son Barry — Jennifer’s ex-husband — testified during divorce proceedings back in 2018 that he had been receiving a yearly salary of upwards of $200,000 for his work with the Trump company, and he added that before entering the White House, Donald himself had been involved in determining his salary. The former president, then, could have been personally involved in a covert scheme to illegally spread the wealth among his allies.

At this point, whether criminal charges will emerge in connection to Vance’s investigation — and whether those charges will name Trump — is unclear. Notably however, the Trump Organization has hired criminal defense attorney Ronald Fischetti, who said that the probe is “going to heat up” and that the company “didn’t bring me in just to do subpoenas.”