A Tennessee man, who co-founded an organization called Students For Trump and made numerous public appearances on behalf of the president during the 2016 campaign, was indicted last month on federal charges that he impersonated an attorney in order to bilk multiple clients out of money.
According to a new profile in Politico, John Lambert, who is now 23, co-founded the organization in 2015 that tried to push support for Trump on college campuses. The Students For Trump group was not officially part of Trump’s campaign but “did engage in ad hoc coordination with people on, and close to, Trump’s official operation,” the site said. Lambert also worked directly with Guido Lombardi, a Trump friend, neighbor, and Mar-a-Lago member, during the campaign. The Students For Trump social media accounts were known for often featuring scantily clad women, sometimes in Trump gear or adorned with Trump slogans.
The group had released a letter in 2016 claiming that the leaders of Students For Trump, including Lambert, had met with Trump at a February 2016 rally in South Carolina. Trump’s 2020 campaign, however, issued a statement that Trump’s 2016 campaign “did not coordinate or affiliate with Students for Trump in the 2016 campaign.”
Students For Trump released a statement last month distancing themselves from their co-founder.
Per the Department of Justice website, an announcement last month from the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York said Lambert is accused of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. SDNY said that Lambert, using the alias “Eric Pope,” had lied about being a lawyer and even collected fees from clients. “Pope” claimed to the clients that he worked for a firm called Pope and Dunn.
Meet John Lambert, a living cautionary tale of the Trump erahttps://t.co/Nb11O2V8Bt
— POLITICO (@politico) May 9, 2019
Lambert, and at least one co-conspirator, “perpetrated a scheme to defraud consumers of legal advice and services by falsely representing through web-based platforms for freelancing services, websites, emails, phones calls, and other means, that they were experienced attorneys who had attended elite law schools, when in fact they were not attorneys and had never attended law school,” SDNY said in their press release.
One of the clients, the prosecutors said, even withdrew from a 401(k) to pay Lambert.
Each count with which Lambert has been charged carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Friends told Politico that they remember Lambert being a big fan of the 2013 Martin Scorsese film The Wolf of Wall Street, which told the story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), who ran a massive securities fraud scheme. Lambert was “motivated” by that film, a friend told the website.