Donald Trump’s Trump University problem isn’t going away, as newly released documents reveal that a seminar encouraged students to lie about their incomes by inflating it by $75,000, ABC News is reporting.
Such an action amount to bank fraud, according to legal experts.
“If someone is encouraging people to make a false representation about their current income, that might be an appropriate target for prosecution,” John W. Moscow, a former head of the fraud bureau of the New York County District Attorney’s Office, told ABC News.
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This and other claims came about as the result of Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over one of the three civil cases against Trump over his now-closed controversial enterprise Trump University.
Trump made Curiel the center of controversy at a San Diego rally where he referred to Curiel as a “Mexican,” as reported by Politico. Trump doubled down on Curiel two days ago, when he told the Wall Street Journal that having a judge with Hispanic descent oversee his case presents an “absolute conflict,” given Trump’s advocacy of a wall at the Mexican border.
Trump University: “Add $75,000”
But the newest documentation, taken from a Trump University presentation entitled “Fast Track to Foreclosure Investing,” offered instructions for increasing credit card limits, “presumably to enable someone to invest more money in foreclosed property,” ABC News said.
“When asked for your income,” the instructor’s script reads, “take your current income and add $75,000 from your real estate enterprise.”
A lawyer for Trump told ABC News that even though this information was among the released documents, this does not mean that Trump University students were ever told to do this.
“While we recognize it is a 24-hour news cycle, at the end of the day, the case is going to be tried in a courtroom in front of a jury,” lawyer Alan Garten said.
Trump University “Preyed Upon The Elderly And Uneducated”
Another allegation in the released documents is that Trump University allegedly used manipulative tactics to get potential customers to part with $35,000 to take its courses.
The New York Times recounts that Ronald Schnackenberg, a former sales manager for Trump University, was “reprimanded” when he did not push what he perceived to be a financially struggling couple to sign up, because he felt that doing so would be a financial hardship for them.
“He watched with disgust, he said, as a fellow Trump University salesman persuaded the couple to purchase the class anyway,” the Times reported.
“I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme,” Mr. Schnackenberg said in his testimony, “and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.”
A 2009 video promo featuring Trump highlighted his success, and how he wanted people to take the course to achieve financial prosperity for themselves, too.
“If you’re going to succeed, you need to take action,” Trump said in the video, “and that’s what Trump University is all about.”
Trump added that while Trump University is about a lot of things, “Above all, it’s about how to become successful.”
The video then featured Trump telling someone that the courses would be taught by “terrific people, the best of the best” who were “hand-picked” by him.
In a later interview with ABC News, Trump admitted that he didn’t know the people who were teaching his courses.
“I don’t know the people. I wasn’t running it. I don’t know the people,” Trump said.
The allegations come at a time when Trump is running for president as the presumptive Republican nominee.
What do you think? Was Trump University a scam? Be sure to sound off in the comments section below.
[Photo by Tom Lynn/Getty Images]