- The New York Times on Tuesday released an extensive investigation focused on President Donald Trump's fortune.
- The Times reported that the president and his family engaged in "instances of outright fraud" to enhance their wealth.
- The story also runs counter to Trump's narrative that he is a self-made billionaire.
The New York Times reported in an extensive investigation published Tuesday that President Donald Trump engaged in what it described as "dubious tax schemes" in the 1990s that even included "instances of outright fraud" that enhanced the fortune that his parents - mainly his father - passed on to him.
What The Times reported runs counter to Trump's oft-repeated narrative: that he is a self-made billionaire who built his own empire.
While The Times was not able to review Trump's personal tax returns - which he has refused to release, breaking with decades of precedent for presidential nominees - it said it examined a "trove of confidential tax returns and financial records" showing that Trump received at least $413 million (R6.2 billion) in today's dollars from when he was a child through the present day.
The Times reported that this money was passed on to Trump because he assisted his parents in dodging taxes, setting up a sham corporation and helping his father take millions in improper tax deductions.
The IRS apparently did not offer much "resistance" to the schemes, The Times said.
The Times reported that Trump's parents transferred in total more than $1 billion in wealth to their kids, an amount that could've produced as much as $550 million in tax revenue. Instead, the newspaper said, the Trumps paid just north of $50 million in taxes.
Charles Harder, an attorney for the president, told The Times in a statement that the report was "100% false and highly defamatory."
Robert Trump, the president's brother, also issued a statement to The Times, saying that "all appropriate gift and estate tax returns were filed, and the required taxes were paid" following their parents' deaths.
"Our father's estate was closed in 2001 by both the Internal Revenue Service and the New York State tax authorities, and our mother's estate was closed in 2004," he continued.
Harder, the White House, and the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
Here's are the key points from The Times' report:
- Tax experts told The Times it was unlikely these findings would open Trump up to criminal prosecution, because the actions happened too long ago.
- He could, however, still face civil fines.
- The Times said it reviewed more than 100,000 pages of documents.
- By the time he was 3 years old, Trump was earning $200,000 a year in today's dollars. By the time he was 8, he was a millionaire.
- Soon after graduating from college, Trump was receiving the equivalent in today's dollars of $1 million annually from his father, Fred Trump.
- That increased to more than $5 million annually when Donald Trump was in his 40s and 50s.
- Fred Trump gave millions to his kids in a way that was structured to sidestep taxes on gifts and inheritances. Experts told The Times the methods were suspect, possibly even illegal.
- When Donald Trump and his siblings gained ownership of their father's real-estate empire in 1997, they dodged hundreds of millions in taxes by undervaluing the properties at just north of $41 million.
- The properties were later sold for 16 times that amount.
- The Trump family in 1992 formed what The Times described as "the most overt fraud," a company called All County Building Supply & Maintenance.
- Its purpose was to be a purchasing agent for Fred Trump's buildings, but it did not function in that manner, The Times said.
- The company instead was used to siphon millions from Fred Trump's empire by marking up purchases that were already made.
- The Times said it found 295 revenue streams Fred Trump created over 50 years to enrich his son.
- In 2004, the Trumps sold off Fred's empire. Donald Trump made $177.3 million off the sale.
- By 1990, Fred Trump had transferred today's equivalent of at least $46.2 million to Donald Trump.
- Had Donald Trump done nothing but invest all the money Fred Trump gave him into an index fund tracking the S&P 500, he would be worth $1.96 billion today.
- Donald Trump said his father gave him a $1 million loan, but Fred Trump actually lent him at least $60.7 million, or $140 million in today's dollars, The Times found.
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