Private Investigator Busted for Using Trump's SSN

Jordan Hamlett is facing five years in prison after trying to get the president's tax info
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 11, 2017 3:34 PM CST
Jordan Hamlett, left, leaves federal court with his attorney Michael Fiser, following his guilty plea in Baton Rouge, La., Monday, Dec. 11, 2017. The Louisiana private investigator pleaded guilty in his...   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – A Louisiana private investigator pleaded guilty on Monday to misusing Donald Trump's Social Security number in repeated attempts to access the president's federal tax information before his election last year. Jordan Hamlett, 32, faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine following his guilty plea in federal court, the AP reports. Authorities have said Hamlett failed in his attempts to get Trump's tax information through a US Department of Education financial aid website. A court document accompanying Hamlett's plea agreement says he used Trump's Social Security number and other personal information to open an online application for federal student aid on Sept. 13, 2016.

After obtaining a username and password, he tried to use an Internal Revenue Service data retrieval tool to obtain Trump's tax information, the document says. "The defendant made six separate attempts to obtain the federal tax information from IRS servers, but he was unsuccessful," says the document. It doesn't specify how much of Trump's tax information could have been retrieved with the online tool. Defense attorney Michael Fiser had argued Hamlett didn't have any "intent to deceive" and simply tried "out of sheer curiosity" to discover whether Trump's tax information could be accessed through the government website. Trump has refused to release his tax returns, bucking an American tradition honored by every president since Jimmy Carter. Hamlett's sentencing hearing wasn't immediately scheduled.


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