Fri, 08 Dec 2023

US prosecutors accused the suspect of stealing tax returns of ?thousands? of millionaires, reportedly including Donald Trump's

A US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) consultant has been indicted for allegedly stealing and leaking the tax returns of wealthy Americans - reportedly including then-President Donald Trump - to media outlets.

Charles Littlejohn, a 38-year-old IRS contractor in Washington, is charged with unauthorized disclosure of a tax return and faces a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Friday. He allegedly stole and illegally disseminated the private financial filings of thousands of the wealthiest Americans.

According to the indictment, Littlejohn stole the tax return information of a high-ranking government official, referred to in court documents as "Public Official A." CNN and other media outlets reported that the official referenced in the indictment is Trump, according to an unidentified source familiar with the case.

The New York Times and ProPublica reportedly received the tax documents, and according to prosecutors, the leaks led to numerous articles based on the filings that Littlejohn stole. The media outlets haven't been accused of wrongdoing by the DOJ. A ProPublica spokesperson told CNN that the outlet "doesn't know the identity of the source who provided this trove of information on the taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans."

The NYT obtained decades of tax returns for Trump and his companies and published multiple stories based on those documents in 2020 and 2021. The former president had long declined to publicly release his tax returns, citing the fact that his filings were being audited by the IRS.

When congressional Democrats publicly released some of Trump's tax records late last year, he said the filings proved how successful he had been as a real estate developer. "The Trump tax returns once again show how proudly successful I have been and how I have been able to use tax depreciation and various other tax deductions as an incentive for creating thousands of jobs and magnificent structures and enterprises," he said.

Trump sued his niece, Mary Trump, in September 2021, alleging that she hatched an "insidious plot" to obtain and release his tax returns. He claimed that she leaked his tax records to drum up publicity for her book about the family's real estate empire.


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