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 Trump2020 Democrats spar over socialism ahead of first debate Senate passes .5 billion border bill, setting up fight with House 'Teflon Don' avoids the scorn of the 'family values' GOP — again 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 seek to ban federal spending at Trump businesses Republicans, Trump Jr. signal support for embattled West Virginia governor The Hill's Morning Report — US strikes approved against Iran pulled back MORE, Eric TrumpEric Frederick TrumpEric Trump says he was spit on by employee at high-end Chicago bar Democrats seek to ban federal spending at Trump businesses The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Trump jumps into 2020 race MORE and Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpMika Brzezinski to Ivanka and Melania: 'You will go down in history as having done nothing about' conditions for migrant children Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump to appear at fundraiser for Jim Jordan: report Apple in front lines of Trump trade war 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