A class-action lawsuit filed in federal court on Monday, October 29, alleges that Donald Trump and his three children — Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka — benefited from allowing their images and collective reputation to be used in ventures that exploited struggling investors via shoddy business opportunities.
The New York Times reports that four plaintiffs,using pseudonyms to protect their identities, have come forth to accuse the president and his family of receiving payments from three multi-level marketing companies that targeted “economically marginalized people” for more than a decade. The suit claims that the alleged victims in the case found themselves each experiencing a “devastating and life-altering” impact from hundreds of thousands of dollars lost on “get-rich-quick schemes” that the Trump family name was used to promote as legitimate.
“This case connects the dots at the Trump Organization and involves systematic fraud that spanned more than a decade, involved multiple Trump businesses and caused tremendous harm to thousands of hardworking Americans,” lawyers Roberta A. Kaplan and Andrew G. Celli Jr., are quoted as stating in defense of the plaintiffs in Doe v. The Trump Corp., 18-cv-9936, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.
The 160-page complaint names telecommunications firm ACN, vitamins marketer Trump Network, and real estate training seminar program Trump Institute as the companies in question. Each is alleged to have participated in “a pattern of racketeering activity,” with the president himself being quoted as having touted them as great opportunities that were safe for prospective investors to take a risk on. Most notable is the charge that the Trumps took money under the table in exchange for the use of their likeness in each initiative.
A new lawsuit accuses President Trump, his company and three of his children of using the Trump name to entice vulnerable people to invest in sham business opportunities https://t.co/B4LvbEe3Al
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 29, 2018
News of the filing is reminiscent of the many Trump University headlines that sprung up to challenge Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign for the presidency.
The complaints brought up against him in the Trump University case were similar in terms of how they alleged that Trump promoted an accredited institute that promised to tap instructors that he personally knew to teach the secrets to success in real estate. Embattled and facing implications brought about by the Trump Organization’s involvement in the alleged scheme, Trump went on to settle the suit with a $25 million payout ahead of his inauguration. Business Insider confirmed that the settlement had been finalized earlier this year.
President Trump, Don Jr., Eric, and Ivanka were also named in a lawsuit that the state of New York filed against him on his birthday this past January. The suit charged the president and his family with “extensive and persistent violations of federal law” for allegedly paying down debts and sprucing up one of his golf resorts with charitable donations intended for his Donald J. Trump Foundation.