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

What You Must Know

  • Charles Littlejohn stole tax info on hundreds of rich People and leaked it to a number of media shops.
  • ProPublica famous it revealed 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 non-public web site to retailer secret tax return info he stole about former President Donald Trump and leaked to the New York Occasions, courtroom 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 hundreds of rich People — together with Ken Griffin, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos — and leaked it to ProPublica.

The style through which Littlejohn pulled off one of the crucial egregious safety breaches in IRS historical past was revealed Sunday in a courtroom submitting.

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

How the Information Was Hidden

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

He then uploaded the info to a private, non-public web site he managed slightly than downloading it to a bodily storage gadget or utilizing a distant storage web site.

That allowed him to “keep away from IRS protocols designed to detect and forestall massive downloads or uploads” from company gadgets or methods, in keeping with the submitting, which lays out the factual foundation for his responsible plea.

That day, he used a private laptop to obtain the info from the non-public web site, storing it in a number of areas, together with private information storage gadgets like his Apple iPod. In Could 2019, he contacted the Occasions about leaking Trump’s tax information, disclosing it between August and October of that yr.

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

Littlejohn used an analogous technique, together with a non-public web site, to retailer information he stole on hundreds of the nation’s wealthiest folks earlier than leaking it to ProPublica, the submitting exhibits. They included billionaires Griffin, Bezos and Musk. The information outlet famous within the collection it revealed concerning the tax information that it spanned greater than 15 years.

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