Manhattan’s DA subpoenaed Steve Bannon’s fundraising records as part of a fraud investigation into his border-wall campaign, report says

steve bannon
Steve Bannon.

  • Manhattan’s DA has subpoenaed financial records relating to Steve Bannon, CNN reported. 
  • The DA is investigating Bannon’s use of funds donated as part of the We Build the Wall campaign.
  • Bannon was pardoned by Donald Trump last month, but he could still face state charges. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Manhattan’s district attorney has subpoenaed financial records from Steve Bannon’s crowdfunding campaign to build a wall across the US-Mexican border, sources told CNN. 

According to the report, subpoenas were issued to Wells Fargo, which held the money Bannon raised as part of the We Build the Wall fundraising drive, and GoFundMe, the online platform he used to raise donations. 

A spokesman for Manhattan’s district attorney declined to comment. 

The subpoenas were issued shortly after former President Donald Trump pardoned Bannon on federal conspiracy charges hours before he left the White House last month, according to CNN.

New Jersey’s attorney general has also launched a civil investigation into the We Build The Wall campaign, per CNN. 

Bannon had been charged by federal prosecutors last December along with three other men with defrauding donors out of $25 million in relation to the border-wall project. Bannon was accused of pocketing hundreds and thousands of dollars of the money for his own expenses, and diverting $1 million to pay an alleged co-conspirator. 

The three men involved in the project, and charged alongside Bannon, did not receive a pardon from Trump. All of the men charged have denied any wrongdoing.

But Trump’s presidential pardon only applies to federal charges, meaning that Bannon could still faces charges in a state court.

Insider has contacted Bannon’s attorney for comment. 

Bannon was formerly among the most influential people in Trump’s orbit, serving as campaign manager during Trump’s successful run for the White House in 2016, and afterward appointed White House chief strategist. 

He left the White House 2018, after he was quoted in an exposé by the author Michael Wolf insulting members of Trump’s family and likening the Trump Organization to a crime syndicate.

But the men repaired their relationship before Trump left office, and Bannon used his podcast last year to spread Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him. 

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Manhattan DA’s office has reportedly issued a subpoena to the NYC Tax Commission as part of an investigation into former President Trump’s company

Trump Tower
People walk past the Trump Tower in Manhattan.

  • The Manhattan DA reportedly issued a subpoena for Trump Organization records from a NYC tax agency. 
  • Reuters reported that the NYC Tax Commission confirmed it received the subpoena. 
  • The DA’s office has not publicly accused Trump or his businesses of wrongdoing.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A New York City property tax agency has been issued with a subpoena as part of a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s company, Reuters reported on Friday. 

Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance’s office reportedly issued a subpoena to the New York City Tax Commission, which is responsible for reviewing assessed values of properties.

Reuters reported that the commission confirmed it received the subpoena. 

In recent court documents, Vance’s office said its investigation is focused on “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct” at the Trump Organization, the umbrella company for Trump’s various business interests. Vance’s office has not publicly accused Trump or his businesses of wrongdoing, Vanity Fair reported.  

Last week, it was reported that Vance’s office hired Mark Pomerantz, a prosecutor specializing in white-collar and organized crime. 

Property owners in New York City can file applications with the NYC Tax Commission to correct the assessed value of their properties, according to the agency’s website.

Records held by the agency would likely include income and expense statements from the Trump Organization, which the company may have filed in an effort to lower its tax assessments, Reuters reported.  

Vance’s office has reportedly sought documents related to the value of Trump Organization properties in New York from other sources, too. Last fall, Vance’s office issued a subpoena to Deutsche Bank, according to The New York Times. That bank had served as the primary lender for Trump’s businesses for about two decades, reports said. Prosecutors last year reportedly interviewed bankers who had worked with Trump. 

Reuters reported that investigators may be looking into whether the Trump Organization sought to increase the value of its properties when seeking loans, then tried to decrease the value when paying property taxes. 

The Wall Street Journal last Saturday reported that Vance’s office was looking into loans taken out on the Trump Organization’s flagship properties in New York City. 

 

 

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Manhattan’s district attorney hired a top prosecutor who pursued mafia bosses to investigate Trump

Mark Pomerantz
Mark Pomerantz at a 2008 press conference in New York City.

  • Manhattan’s district attorney hired top prosecutor Mark Pomerantz to join its Trump investigation.
  • Pomerantz has a long career prosecuting white-collar crime and organized crime. 
  • The Manhattan DA is investigating whether the Trump Organization committed financial crimes. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Manhattan’s district attorney has hired a top prosecutor who specializes in white-collar and organized crime to join its investigation into Donald Trump and his businesses, multiple reports say.

Mark Pomerantz, who has a long career as a federal prosecutor and trial attorney, was sworn in earlier this month as an assistant district attorney, The New York Times first reported.

Pomerantz has joined the team assembled by District Attorney Cyrus Vance to investigate whether the Trump Organization committed insurance and tax fraud, and falsified records, The Times reported. 

Reuters reported that in his new role, Pomerantz interviewed Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer, on Thursday.

Insider has contacted the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for confirmation of the hire.

In court documents, the office has said that its investigation is focused on “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct” at the Trump Organization, the umbrella company for Trump’s various business interests. 

Trump has long denied any wrongdoing, claiming that the investigations are politically motivated. 

Vance’s investigation is the only known criminal probe being conducted into Trump’s business dealings, with a civil probe by New York Attorney General Letitia James investigating whether Trump falsely reported property values to secure loans and tax benefits. 

Pomerantz has several decades of experience as a trial lawyer and litigator, having led the criminal division of the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York between 1997 and 1999. 

During his time in the job he oversaw the prosecution of several organized-crime cases, including that of John A. Gotti, the son of the Gambino crime family boss John J. Gotti, on racketeering charges. According to The Times, Pomerantz was involved in the 1988 case which established the legal definition of racketeering, which has been used to prosecute organized-crime figures.

After his stint at the US attorney’s office, Pomerantz then moved into private practice.

According to his profile on the University of Pennsylvania’s website, where he serves on the advisory board for the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice, Pomerantz has “has handled major matters and internal investigations involving all aspects of alleged corporate misconduct, including securities and bank fraud, mail and wire fraud,” as well as organized-crime offenses, tax crimes and bribery. 

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Manhattan DA weighs prosecuting Steve Bannon at the state level after Trump pardoned him: WaPo

steve bannon banned twitter
  • The Manhattan DA’s Office is weighing a state court case against Steve Bannon, a new report says.
  • Bannon and three others were charged with defrauding donors while fundraising for the border wall.
  • Presidential pardons only apply to federal crimes, not state or local court cases.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is contemplating bringing a state court case against former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, The Washington Post reported. 

The news comes weeks after former President Donald Trump issued a last-minute pardon for Bannon just hours before President Joe Biden was inaugurated. Federal prosecutors accused Bannon and three others of defrauding donors out of $25 million in fundraising campaign for the US-Mexico border wall via their We Build the Wall nonprofit.

Presidential pardons only apply to federal crimes, not state or local cases. Bannon was among more than 140 individuals who Trump granted clemency or commutations in his final 24 hours in office.

Investigators under District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. are in “early-stage discussions” in bringing state charges against Bannon for his involvement in the fundraising fraud, according to The Post report.

Read more: 7 yuuge reasons Donald Trump isn’t going away

The former Trump strategist and three others were charged at the federal level with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering related to the border wall fundraising campaign. He was arrested in August of last year in Westbrook, Connecticut, and pleaded not guilty.

“As alleged, the defendants defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction,” acting Manhattan US attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement.

“While repeatedly assuring donors that Brian Kolfage, the founder and public face of We Build the Wall, would not be paid a cent, the defendants secretly schemed to pass hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kolfage, which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle.”

Kolfage, along with We Build the Wall cofounders Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea, did not receive a pardon from the former president.

Read the full story at The Washington Post »

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