A massive 160-page complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan this week alleges that the entire Trump family has for years engaged in fraud intended to rip off unsophisticated investors.
The New York Times reports that the complaint “alleges that Mr. Trump and his family received secret payments from three business entities in exchange for promoting them as legitimate opportunities, when in reality they were get-rich-quick schemes that harmed investors, many of whom were unsophisticated and struggling financially.”
Additionally, reports the Times, the complaint depicts the Trump Organization as “a racketeering enterprise that defrauded thousands of people.”
At the center of the lawsuit are three separate business entities: ACN, a telecommunications firm that gave Trump money in exchange for endorsing its products; the Trump Network, which was responsible for the ill-fated Trump Vitamins nutritional regimen; and the Trump Institute, a Trump University-like entity that the lawsuit claims offered “extravagantly priced multiday training seminars” that purportedly gave attendees access to Trump’s “secrets” to selling real estate.
Attorneys Roberta Kaplan and Andrew Celli Jr., who are representing plaintiffs in the lawsuit, tell the New York Times that their case “connects the dots at the Trump Organization and involves systematic fraud that spanned more than a decade, involved multiple Trump businesses and caused tremendous harm to thousands of hardworking Americans.”
Among other things, the suit alleges that a hospice worker identified as “Jane Doe” was tricked into investing in ACN in 2014 after watching Trump personally endorse the company in a promotional video. The complaint alleges that Doe spent thousands of dollars to attend ACN seminars in multiple cities across the United States — and only earned $38 from all the training she’d received in selling its products.