Rob Shimshock, DCNF
Authorities are investigating whether President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen committed fraud with regard to over $20 million in loans received by his taxi businesses.
The Cohen investigation is also tackling whether the ex-Trump lawyer infringed upon campaign finance laws by participating in the payoff of women alleging affairs with the president in exchange for their silence, The New York Times reported Sunday. Cohen worked for the Trump Organization for more than 10 years and prosecutors may file charges before September.
The $20 million-plus in loans allegedly derived from the Melrose Credit Union and Sterling National Bank, according to records reviewed and individuals interviewed by The New York Times. A Sterling spokesman declined comment and a Melrose spokesman did not respond to a request for comment from the Times. Investigators are exploring whether Cohen misreported his assets to receive the loans and whether or not he reported it to the Internal Revenue Service.
The banks do not appear to have suffered losses because of Cohen’s activities, but the potential bank fraud could still be relevant if the perpetrator has committed other crimes.
Federal prosecutors previously subpoenaed one-time Cohen accountant Jeffrey Getzel, who also served as an accountant for “Taxi King” Evgeny Freidman, a convicted felon who has also partnered with Cohen. Freidman confessed to having not paid $5 million in taxes on profits reaped from his taxi medallion services.
If Cohen pleads guilty in exchange for not facing indictment, he would probably have to turn over information to special counsel Robert Mueller.
Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani predicted that Cohen will be disbarred for having taped Trump talking about potential payments to Playboy model Karen McDougal.
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