Mobster Al Capone was convicted of income tax evasion and died in prison of syphilis. John Gotti, otherwise known as the “Teflon Don,” was convicted of five murders and also died in prison of throat cancer. Donald Trump shall soon be suffering a humiliation even more painful than incarceration or death, because the federal government will be using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (Rico laws) to confiscate most of his money and property.

The hubris of Donald Trump is legendary. On its 2017 list of 400 wealthiest Americans, Forbes Magazine lists Trump’s net worth at 3.5 billion dollars, down from 3.7 billion in the year prior. Trump filed a personal financial disclosure form for the 2016 presidential election that listed his net worth at more than 10 billion dollars. Critics note that Trump has a history of inflating the true value of his wealth. More than once, Trump has called Forbes to complain about the magazine low-balling the reported estimate of his wealth. However, in sworn testimony during one of his lawsuit depositions, Trump admitted that he values assets at what they “may someday be worth.” This explains how the Trump Brand, which is valued by Forbes at 125 million dollars, in the mind of Donald Trump is valued at more than 3 billion dollars. Trump takes self-righteous insult to any estimate of his wealth that falls below his grossly inflated idea of self-worth.

Investigative reporter Craig Unger, in a revealing and explosive  article for the August-September, 2017 issue of New Republic entitled “Trump’s Russian Laundromat,” exposed Donald Trump’s longstanding connection to Russian mob leaders, and among other things stated:

“How to use Trump Tower and other luxury high-rises to clean dirty money, run an international crime syndicate, and propel a failed real estate developer into the White House.”

Also, It was stated that some 1.3 trillion dollars has been exported from Russia since Vladimir Putin took control of the Russian Federation.

The mastermind behind this exodus of rubles was college educated boss of Russian mobsters Semion Mogelivich. Along with trafficking in the usual mob-related ventures, Mogelivich hatched a massive and innovative  plan to launder ill-gotten Russian funds by paying exorbitant fees for condominiums located throughout the world. Donald Trump owns between 8,000 and 10,000 such properties.

Unger detailed how the scam unfolded. In 1977, Russian immigrant David Bogatin arrived in New York with three dollars in his pocket. Nevertheless, in 1984 the seemingly penniless Russian struck a direct deal with Donald Trump and pulled six million dollars out of thin air to buy five luxury condos. Thus were the seeds sown for a criminal financial enterprise.

Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin could be the richest man in the world. All of the money that left Russia under his watch is either in hidden bank accounts outside of Russia, or held by oligarchs who, as a matter of self-preservation, report directly to Putin.

A clandestinely exposed tax return for the year 1995 reveals that Trump mismanaged three Atlantic City casinos, lost money on an airline venture, and lost even more through an ill-timed purchase of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. The sum of his misadventures totaled 916 million dollars. At that time, his business empire was under water; his liabilities far exceeded his assets. However, he had at his disposal a perfectly legal business carryover tax credit relevant to the reported massive loss for each of the next eighteen years, which in effect amounted to an annual grant of nearly 50 million dollars from the public treasury. But he could not use the credit unless he found a way to generate business income.

Trump took dirty Russian money because it was the only money he could get; he had shafted bankers, contractors, business partners and even his lawyers. Add in several bankruptcies, and U.S. lenders appropriately considered him a toxic and uninsurable risk.

Coincidentally, Donald Trump, Jr. admitted at a real estate conference in 2008 that “we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

Under Title 18 of federal criminal code, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act punishes a “pattern (two or more prohibited acts) of criminal activity,” rather than single criminal acts. Thus, a defendant can be tried under the act for either ordering, or assisting in, a pattern of criminal acts. Money laundering is one of numerous specific acts prohibited by Section 1961 of the act. The crime is complete when any person, or group of persons,  uses an enterprise to commit two predicate acts (such as wire transfer of funds to a bank and wire or mail transfer of the deposited funds to another account).

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is methodically connecting the dots in relation to Trump’s acquisition of ill-gained assets. At this point, Trump is feeling like a cornered rat, and will most likely fire Mueller before the investigation is complete. But that will only delay the outcome.

Most of the states, including New York, have enacted mirror statutes of the federal RICO law. Thus, if Mueller is fired, it is a sure bet that New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will seize the opportunity to prosecute Trump and his minions under New York state law. It should also be noted that the presidential pardon authority granted in Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution applies only to violations of federal, and not state law.

Trump has steadfastly refused to join U.S. intelligence agencies in faulting Vladimir Putin and Russia for their interference in the 2016 American presidential election. Now we know why. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Most of Trump’s wealth came from selling over-priced condominium units to Putin’s Russian mob oligarchs. At the end of it all,  Russia will be the only safe haven for Trump and most of his family when creditors―which includes New York State and the U.S. government―come calling. Alas, when Trump joins fellow traitor Edward Snowden in Moscow, sixty per cent of American citizens can breathe a sigh of relief and say “good riddance.”

Opinion Editorial

Copyright ©2017

Truman Goodspeed

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