PI in Hot Water for Trying to Dig Up Tax Dirt on Trump

He reportedly used a hack in a federal financial aid tool
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2017 5:52 PM CDT
PI Charged for Trying to Peek at Trump's Taxes
President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Louisiana private investigator Jordan Hamlett allegedly illegally attempted to obtain Donald Trump’s taxes using an unorthodox method: FAFSA forms. According to Politico, Hamlett, 31, allegedly tried digging up the then-presidential candidate’s taxes in September 2016 by exploiting a flaw in the online tool students use to fill out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid for college. At the time, Trump was making headlines by refusing to release his tax returns ahead of the elections due to a routine IRS audit. The Washington Post reports that hackers have manipulated the FAFSA tool to steal private data by filling out preliminary candidate information such as name and using a fake social security number. More fields are then auto-filled by the FAFSA system, including tax return information (the tool has since been removed by the IRS and Department of Education).

Court records show that Hamlett pleaded not guilty to a federal felony charge of false representation of a social security number. A filing signed by a US attorney states that “the defendant immediately volunteered that he had committed the crime, and he even sounded proud of what he had done,” but Hamlett’s lawyer says his client’s statements were involuntary because he wasn’t read his Miranda rights by federal agents before they began their interrogation. The attorney told Politico, “Mr. Hamlett looks forward to presenting his case and motives to a jury of 12 citizens to let them decide whether any offense was committed.” (More Donald Trump stories.)

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