Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 13 Share on Twitter 1 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds   

"Financial Elder Abuse Charges" Against Trump. Business As Usual in DC.

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   No comments
Become a Premium Member Would you like to know how many people have read this article? Or how reputable the author is? Simply sign up for a Advocate premium membership and you'll automatically see this data on every article. Plus a lot more, too.
Author 77715
Message Richard Eskow
Become a Fan
  (15 fans)

From Our Future

Donald Trump
Donald Trump
(Image by Gage Skidmore)
  Details   DMCA

As Donald Trump prepares to assume the presidency, Americans must learn to distinguish the ways he is uniquely terrible from the ways in which he is not so terribly unique -- except as a matter of degree. His extreme behavior shouldn't be "normalized," to use the year's newest word. But neither should the lies and deceptions of his more "respectable" colleagues.

Last week's Trump University settlement is a case in point. The particulars of the case are mind-boggling: Trump and his co-defendants settled the fraud charges against them for a reported $25 million. (The settlement still needs to be approved by Judge Gonzalo Curiel.)

Most people know the general nature of the charges. Trump and his associates allegedly defrauded "students" with false claims about the venture and their future earning possibilities. Victims were subjected to high-pressure sales tactics that often led them to spend $35,000 on a worthless series of lectures from "instructors" Trump claimed to have personally selected but could not identify.

This case was never politically motivated. As New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman noted recently: "Nobody in August 2013 thought that this guy was going to be the Republican nominee for president."

"It's fraud," said Schneiderman, "straight-up fraud."

Charges included false advertising and false business practices. As Schneiderman said in 2013, "Mr. Trump used his celebrity status " to convince people to spend tens of thousands of dollars they couldn't afford for lessons they never got."

But another aspect of the case got less attention. If approved, the settlement will also resolve allegations of "financial elder abuse" against Trump and his co-defendants. Laws in Florida and California make it illegal to financially exploit older Americans -- "by deception or intimidation," as the Florida statute phrases it.

The Trump University sales script reportedly directed sales staff to urge prospects to "cash in" their 401(k) retirement savings, and to say:

"How many of you lost a lot of your 401(k) investment in the market? How many times do you go into Walmart, and you're greeted by a guy or gal who is 70+ years old? Do you want to be doing that when you're 70 years old, or do you want to be playing golf and enjoying your retirement?"

A former Trump University sales rep said in an affidavit, "I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme, and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money."

By settling the case, Trump avoids having a court hear charges that he preyed upon the fears of a vulnerable population.

Never before has someone prepared to assume the presidency under such a cloud of fraud accusations, potential conflicts of interest, erratic personal behavior, and sexual assault allegations. But, despite this dubious distinction, Trump is also the distillation -- admittedly in extreme form -- of several long-term trends.

Trump University was an ugly education scam, but it was not the only one. Corinthian Colleges Inc. left tens of thousands of students with crippling debt for worthless degrees sold under false pretenses. It has taken a shamefully long time for these students to receive justice from the federal government, despite the efforts of groups like the Debt Collective. Other for-profit education programs have also exploited students.

More broadly, an entire generation of millennials -- along with a good number of its elders -- has been burdened with unlivable student debt and weak job prospects. They kept the American promise by pursuing an education to better themselves. They deserve justice.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).


Rate It | View Ratings

Richard Eskow Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Host of 'The Breakdown,' Writer, and Senior Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

How to Fix the Fed: Dismiss Dimon, Boot the Bankers, and Can the Corporations

The Top 12 Political Fallacies of 2012

Pawn: The Real George Zimmerman Story

What America Would Look Like If Libertarians Got Their Way

"His Own Man's" Man: Jeb Bush and the Return of Wolfowitz

"F" The Bureaucracy! The White House Can Help Homeowners Right Now

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: