Politics

Manhattan district attorney bolsters team investigating possible fraud claims by Trump and his company


Mark Pomerantz, a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan and a well-regarded defense lawyer and trial attorney with an expertise in financial institutions, was sworn into office earlier this month as a special assistant district attorney, Danny Frost, a spokesman for District Attorney Cy Vance, told CNN.

Vance’s office is investigating whether the Trump Organization violated state laws and is looking into the legality of tax deductions, including from conservation easements and consulting fees the company took, as well as what the Trump Organization told lenders and tax authorities about the value of its assets.

Pomerantz, who is a retired partner at law firm Paul Weiss, could not immediately be reached for comment. The New York Times first reported that Pomerantz joined Vance’s team.

By adding Pomerantz, prosecutors gain a well-seasoned attorney steeped in criminal law and someone who knows the ins and out of financial investigations.

Pomerantz was the head of the criminal division at the US attorney’s office in Manhattan from 1997 to 1999. He had been a partner at Paul Weiss for more than a decade until he retired. As a defense lawyer he represented numerous individuals and financial institutions in complex financial fraud investigations.

Vance’s investigation started its investigation in earnest in August 2019, initially looking into the hush-money payments former Trump attorney Michael Cohen facilitated to silence two women’s claims that they had affairs with Trump. The former President has denied the affairs.

It grew to include allegations, also made by Cohen, that the Trump Organization inflated assets when seeking loans and deflated them when it came time to pay taxes. Cohen has been interviewed multiple times by Vance’s investigators, including as recently as this week, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Prosecutors are looking into numerous loans the Trump Organization has taken out, including those from Deutsche Bank and Ladder Capital, people familiar with the investigation have said.

Investigators initially began looking into the Ladder Capital loans after ProPublica reported discrepancies between the values Trump Organization gave to Ladder Capital and what it provided to New York City tax authorities, sources told CNN. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio asked Vance’s office to look into the allegations and they agreed, the sources said.
Prosecutors have since expanded their inquiry into fees Trump paid to consultants, including his daughter Ivanka Trump. They are also looking into tax deductions taken on conservation easements at the Trump property in Westchester County, New York, called Seven Springs.

The Trump Organization has said it has complied with all laws.

Prosecutors have been in a protracted legal battle over a grand jury subpoena to Trump’s accounting firm Mazars USA for Trump’s financial records, including his tax returns. The case is back before the Supreme Court, which has not yet ruled on whether Vance can have the records.

Vance’s office has said the records are crucial to the investigation, in part because of the statute of limitations for the potential crimes they are investigating.


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