Trump Is Exposing How U.S. Has A Systemic ‘White’ Collar Crime Problem

Trump Is Exposing How U.S. Has A Systemic ‘White’ Collar Crime Problem

America has a systemic “white” collar crime problem–and Trump’s White House team and circle of associates are proving it.

In fact, under President Trump, the number of white-collar prosecutions has dropped to a 20-year low, this following a high in 2011 under the Barack Obama administration.

“A total of 3,249 cases were brought during the first seven months of the U.S. government’s 2018 fiscal year, which runs from October 2017 to April 2018, according to a case-by-case analysis of government data by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC,” Bloomberg reported. This is a 4.4 percent drop from the same period in 2017, and a decline of 33.5 percent from five years ago.

And you don’t have to look further than the White House for evidence of who is committing most of these types of crimes. The Russian probe has investigated and indicted a number of Trump’s allies. So far, four people have been charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Let’s start with former U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn who has  pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador while serving in the White House.

“Prosecutors charged that Flynn falsely told FBI agents in January that he did not ask Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to delay a vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution. Flynn resigned in February for misleading Vice President Pence and other officials about his contacts with Russian officials after the election,” USA Today reported.

Flynn served as National Security Adviser in Trump’s White House for less than one month before resigning over his long times to Russia.

“In 2015, Flynn earned $33,000 for a now-controversial speech in Moscow. About a year after leaving the military, he spoke to the Kremlin-backed TV network Russia Today–and a photo of him at a related formal dinner seated next to Russian President Vladimir Putin sparked controversy amid the probe into possible collusion between Trump associates and Russia,” USA Today reported.

Then there is former Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Kremlin-related contacts. “A former foreign policy adviser to the Donald Trump campaign, Papadopoulos plead guilty in October to lying to the FBI about his communications with people who represented themselves as tied to the Russian government,” USA Today reported.

When a professor linked to the Kremlin reached out to Papadopoulos to say the Russians had “dirt” on then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Papadopoulos tried to organize meetings between the Russian government and Trump campaign officials.

Looking at Trump’s ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort, investigators uncovered deep relations between Manafort and Russians. “A grand jury empaneled by the special counsel indicted Manafort on charges including money laundering, conspiracy, tax fraud and failure to disclose his lobbying in the U.S. on behalf of foreign governments. Prosecutors have alleged Manafort and a business partner, Rick Gates, worked on behalf of pro-Russia factions in Ukraine, then laundered millions of dollars in profits for movement to the United States to evade taxes,” USA Today reported.

Currently, Manafort, who plead not guilty, is under house arrest while he is on trial in federal court. It is estimated if Manafort is found guilty of all charges, he could spend 12 to 15 years in prison.

On August 13, Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team rested its case against Manafort. “The trial, the first of two Manafort faces, is in its tenth day in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, and is expected to resume on Tuesday morning. Manafort is accused of failing to report millions of dollars that he was paid for political consulting work in Ukraine, before he briefly served as Trump’s campaign chairman in 2016. The charges do not involve Manafort’s time with Trump,” NBC News reported.

Manafort’s “right-hand man” and former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates has been charged with both “funneling tens of millions of dollars through foreign firms and accounts while working for pro-Russian factions in Ukraine. Gates is charged with conspiracy, money laundering, failing to register as a foreign agent as well as making false statements to investigators in the special counsel investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign,” USA Today reported. According to the indictment, Gates, who was a Trump aide during the campaign and post-election transition, used money from the illicit accounts to pay for his mortgage, his children’s school fees and even to decorate his Virginia home.

Initially, pleaded not guilty but he eventually pleaded guilty to 2 chargesconspiracy and lying to the FBI. Gates made a deal to cooperate and provide information to the ongoing Mueller investigation.

“ plea caps a tumultuous 24 hours for Gates in which he was hit with fresh charges, changed lawyers, admitted crimes and agreed to provide information about his ex-boss–former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort,” the Washington Post reported.

But even Trump associates not involved in the Russia investigation have been caught up in white collar crime scandals. For example, Trump Cabinet Member Wilbur Ross has been accused of stealing in excess of  $120 million. “Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross was accused of having stolen $120 million through a complex scheme at his previous investment company, which led to lawsuits, a fine by the Securities and Exchange Commission and some paybacks, according to a Forbes report,” Newsweek reported. The 80-year-old Ross has faced other accusations of financial impropriety while in office.

There’s also GOP Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y, who has been accused of using campaign funds to pay legal bills for insider trading investigations.Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York allege that Collins, while he was a board member of Australian company Innate Immunotherapeutics, gave a tip to his son Cameron last year about a failed drug trial that would soon be announced. His son used that information to dump the stock and avoid a six-figure loss, the Justice Department alleges,” CNBC reported.

As a side note: Hitting even closer to home, the father of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, Charles Kushner was convicted of illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering, and served time in federal prison back in 2005.

And while it may seem white makes hold the reins on white collar crime, we can not forget the once Silicon Valley darling Elizabeth Holmes. The founder of  lab testing company Theranos was indicted on charges of defrauding investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars as well as misleading patients and doctors.