Is Trump the Newest Member of the Tax Cheat Club?
The bombshell report about “billionaire” Donald Trump’s tax shenanigans places him in some fairly notorious company. Among other things, a New York Times investigation says Trump’s being audited for taking an undeserved tax refund of almost $73 million. The IRS would be seeking about $100 million in back taxes, penalties and interest.
If he’s found to be cheating the U.S. government out of tax money, he would achieve membership in an eclectic criminal club. Here’s a look some of the members the president would be joining. Their tax bills pale in comparison to what Trump could owe.
Al Capone, reputed gangster, IRS tax bill: $215,000.
Capone ruled 1930s Chicago as his own personal kingdom. He was forever under suspicion of extortion, stealing and murder, although he was never convicted of any of those crimes. But he was indicted and plead guilty to five counts of tax evasion in 1931 and was sentenced to 11 years in prison, some of which he served in Alcatraz. In addition to his tax bill he was charged with $7,692 for court costs and fined $50,000.
Leona Helmsley, New York hotelier, IRS tax bill: $1.2 million
Helmsley was forever dubbed the “queen of mean” after she declared during her tax evasion trial “only little people pay taxes.” (Trump says paying little or no taxes makes him “smart.”) She and her husband, Harry, were indicted on 188 counts of tax fraud and eventually she was convicted of 33 felony counts of fraud, including mail fraud, tax evasion and filing false tax returns. Initially, she was sentenced to 16 years in prison and fines of $7 million. On appeal, her sentence was reduced to four years in prison.
O.J. Simpson, former football player, IRS tax bill: $1.4 million
After being acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, Simpson got into trouble in a Las Vegas casino and ended up serving nine years for armed robbery and kidnapping. While in prison the IRS hit him with multiple tax liens. His Florida home was seized and sold to pay off those tax debts.
Other famous club members include Willie Nelson, Nicholas Cage, “Survivor” winner Richard Hatch and former Vice President Spiro Agnew.