Trump Could Be In Trouble If Investigators Prove Tax Fraud

The statute of limitations has already run out for most of the financial crimes Trump was accused of in the 'New York Times' article, but there is one crime that may yet bring him down.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 01: U.S. President Donald Trump calls journalists 'loco,' which is Spanish for crazy, during a press conference to discuss a revised U.S. trade agreement with Mexico and Canada in the Rose Garden of the White House on October 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The statute of limitations has already run out for most of the financial crimes Trump was accused of in the 'New York Times' article, but there is one crime that may yet bring him down.

The New York Times article still has game-changing potential, according to Business Insider. The eight-page article details many issues of tax evasion, and at one point it accuses the president of the United States of “outright fraud.”

The trouble is, there’s a very short statute of limitations on tax crimes. Though Trump is accused of many shady practices, such as undervaluing properties on tax forms, time ran out years ago on actually pressing charges.

Not only is there a three-year statute of limitations on federal and New York state estate and gift tax audits, but the estate of Trump’s parents was already audited in 2000. These cases cannot be reopened.

However, there is one issue where the statute of limitations does not apply: fraud. There is actually no statute of limitations on fraud.

And what constitutes fraud? Any intentional omissions or misrepresentations about an estate or gift tax return is fraudulent, and it would allow New York state to impose civil penalties on Trump if they can prove his guilt, CNN reports.

Silhouette in front of the Trump building in New York, NY
  Carlos Herrero / Pexels

One series of loans given to Trump by his father, Fred Trump, has raised red flags among tax and finance experts. It’s here where Trump is standing in ethically murky waters. It all depends on how these loans were reported on Fred Trump’s estate tax return.

It boils down to a specific exchange in which Fred Trump purchased an ownership stake in the Trump Palace for $15.5 million. Fred sold the stake back to Trump later for $10,000. This amounts to a $15.4 million gift, which should be subject to the 55 percent gift tax.

Fred Trump did not report this gift. If it’s also not listed on his estate tax return, Donald Trump could be accused of misrepresenting those documents.

The question of gift taxes has also been raised for Donald Trump’s older sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry. The Times article alleges that various shell corporations were used to allow Fred Trump to give millions of dollars in gifts to his children while avoiding the gift tax. Along with brother Donald, Judge Barry was an executor of her father’s will.

Barry has not responded to media requests for comment.

Donald Trump and the White House have denounced the article as a political attack, and Trump has denied all claims of tax evasion or tax fraud of any kind.

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance is currently investigating the claims made by the New York Times. On Wednesday, a day after the article was published, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio vows to “look under every stone” to recoup any taxes that Trump should have given to the state.