Trump encouraged vulnerable consumers to invest in sham businesses, lawsuit says

Trump encouraged vulnerable consumers to invest in sham businesses, lawsuit says
© Stefani Reynolds

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's top adviser on Asia to serve as deputy national security adviser United Auto Workers strike against GM poised to head into eighth day Trump doubles down on call to investigate Biden after whistleblower complaint: 'That's the real story' MORE and three of his children persuaded vulnerable consumers to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars in fake business opportunities in exchange for “large, secret payments,” according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Monday, was first reported by The New York Times. It alleges that Trump and three of his adult children — Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpDemocrats introduce bill to block taxpayer-funded spending at Trump properties Trump dismisses NYT explanation on Kavanaugh correction The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico MORE, Eric TrumpEric Frederick TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Senior HUD official reprimanded for making political statements on the job Democrats introduce bill to block taxpayer-funded spending at Trump properties MORE and Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpTrump awards Yankees legend Mariano Rivera the Medal of Freedom The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico 2020 is not a family affair, for a change MORE deliberately misled consumers to invest in business opportunities and training programs offered by three consumer-facing companies in exchange for “large, secret payments” between 2005 and 2015.

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The three companies named were ACN Opportunity, a multilevel marketing company that provides telecommunications; The Trump Network, which sold an array of diet supplements and multivitamins; and The Trump Institute, a live-seminar program that purported to sell Trump’s "secrets to success," according the lawsuit.

Four plaintiffs brought the lawsuit, but their identities are not public. The lawsuit names them only as Jane Doe, Luke Loe, Richard Roe and Mary Moe.

The lawsuit says the Trump Organization told investors they would have reasonable probability of commercial success if they bought into the investments; that Trump was endorsing and promoting the investments because he believed they would be profitable; and that Trump’s endorsement was based on personal experience.

“Indeed, defendants were aware that the vast majority of consumers would lose whatever money they invested in the business opportunities and training programs the endorsed entities offered,” the 164-page complaint alleges.

The Trumps allegedly made millions of dollars conning victims that “were then and now among the most economically marginalized and vulnerable Americans,” according to the complaint. 

Neither the White House nor the Trump Organization responded to requests for comment.

Roberta Kaplan and John Quinn, two attorneys representing the victims, did not respond to requests for comment. Kaplan told The New York Times that the lawsuit was being funded by the Tesseract Research Center, and the Times reported that the chairman of the organization has donated to Democratic candidates.

Neither the White House nor the Trump Organization immediately responded to requests for comment.

  Read lawsuit by kballuck1 on Scribd