How an IRS Contractor Leaked Tax Knowledge on Trump, Bezos and Musk

What You Have to Know

  • Charles Littlejohn stole tax data on 1000’s of rich Individuals and leaked it to a number of media shops.
  • ProPublica famous it printed tales about tax information that spanned greater than 15 years.
  • Littlejohn pleaded responsible to a single cost that carries a jail time period so long as 5 years.

A former Inner Income Service contractor used a personal web site to retailer secret tax return data he stole about former President Donald Trump and leaked to the New York Occasions, court docket data present.

Charles Littlejohn, 38, pleaded responsible Oct. 12 to stealing Trump’s information from the IRS and leaking it to the Occasions. He additionally stole tax return details about 1000’s of rich Individuals — together with Ken Griffin, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos — and leaked it to ProPublica.

The way through which Littlejohn pulled off one of the egregious safety breaches in IRS historical past was revealed Sunday in a court docket submitting.

Lawmakers and authorities watchdogs have repeatedly warned about about lax safeguards on the IRS, which processed 260 million tax returns final 12 months. The submitting stated nothing about Littlejohn’s motive.

How the Knowledge Was Hidden

To keep away from detection, Littlejohn accessed Trump’s tax return and different data in late 2018 by querying an IRS database utilizing extra “generalized parameters” relatively than immediately looking for the previous president’s information, in accordance to the submitting.

He then uploaded the information to a private, personal web site he managed relatively than downloading it to a bodily storage system or utilizing a distant storage web site.

That allowed him to “keep away from IRS protocols designed to detect and stop giant downloads or uploads” from company units or techniques, in accordance with the submitting, which lays out the factual foundation for his responsible plea.

That day, he used a private laptop to obtain the information from the personal web site, storing it in a number of areas, together with private information storage units like his Apple iPod. In Might 2019, he contacted the Occasions about leaking Trump’s tax information, disclosing it between August and October of that 12 months.

In September 2020 — weeks earlier than Trump misplaced the election to Joe Biden — the Occasions  printed the primary of a number of tales, revealing he paid $750 in federal revenue taxes in 2016 and 2017, and no taxes in 10 of the earlier 15 years.

Littlejohn used an identical methodology, together with a personal web site, to retailer information he stole on 1000’s of the nation’s wealthiest individuals earlier than leaking it to ProPublica, the submitting exhibits. They included billionaires Griffin, Bezos and Musk. The information outlet famous within the sequence it printed concerning the tax information that it spanned greater than 15 years.

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