Fraud

By George Smith

Fraud.*

That is a one-word description that fits President Donald Trump.

His entire life, from his first business dealings back in the early ‘70s, is rift with examples of brazen acts of fraud.

With his father Fred, he fraudulently evicted people of color from family apartment buildings in order to populate the buildings with people of European descent.

Moving on to more recent examples:

— The Trump Foundation was ordered closed, the non-profit was fined and its assets ordered distributed to charitable organizations because of “fraud”, i.e., personal use of foundation funds.

— Trump’s I’ll-make-you-rich business, Trump University, was ordered closed and had to pay $25 million in restitution to former students. The reason? Fraud.

— The New York attorney general just filed financial fraud charges against the president based on a years’-long investigation. The portrait those efforts have painted is consistent: Trump engages in systematic financial fraud,not just aggressive use of tax sheltering, but straight-up criminal fraud, and counts on lax-to-nonexistent enforcement to make his crimes pay.

Last month, ProPublica online news service found huge discrepancies between the figures Trump has cited for the profitability of two Manhattan buildings given to lenders and what he reported to city tax authorities. As you might guess, Trump tells lenders he’s rich and tells the government he’s poor. An accounting professor called it “versions of fraud.”

ProPublica has another report showing Trump has run the same scam for Trump Tower. In 2011 and 2012, Trump told a lender that his rooms were 98.7 percent and 99 percent occupied, but told the city it had just an 83 percent occupancy rate.

Clever? Isn’t that the word one could use for finding a complicated tax shelter, or taking full advantage of what the law allows?  It’s just clever until you get caught, then, it becomes just at criminal fraud.

— Before Trump became president, it was his company’s common business practice to threaten to sue subcontractors after complaining about “sunstandard work” if they didn’t settle for a smaller settlement amount. Time and time again, on projects around the world, subcontractors reported examples of hatchet-job fraud and strong-arm tactics used by Trump.

— To Christians, Trump’s blatant attempt at making himself more appealing to evangelicals by marching to a church near the White House for a Bible-holding photo op should have set off alarm bells as an in-your-face example of religious fraud. Christian values do not exist in this president; he has no empathy, no charity in his heart for others, no forgiveness, he attacks the less fortunate among us and does not exhibit a single characteristic of living a life filled with compassion and love.

—Still on the horizon will be investigations into the president’s tax returns, which, when matched up with subpoenaed bank records, will make for interesting reading.  

Donald Trump is a fraud, in his business dealings, in his administration of his duties as president, in his heart.

The United States of America deserves better.

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