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President Trump Hit with New Lawsuit Alleging He Targeted Teens in a Fraudulent Marketing Scheme

— February 1, 2019

A lawsuit has been filed against President Trump and others close to him over allegations that they participated in a fraudulent marketing scheme aimed at preying on consumers and targeting teenagers.

President Trump was recently hit with yet another lawsuit over allegations that he, his three oldest children, and his company collaborated with a “fraudulent marketing scheme to prey on investors, including by recruiting teenagers, promising them success as ‘The Trumps of Tomorrow.’” The suit was filed in Manhattan federal court.

According to the lawsuit, “President Trump and three of his adult children used his former reality TV show ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ and other promotional events as vehicles to boost ACN Opportunity” in exchange for ‘secret’ payments. ACN Opportunity is a “telecommunications marketing company linked to a nonprofit that used Trump’s brand to appeal to teens.”

Trump Tower, in New York City
Trump Tower, in New York City; image courtesy of Martin Dürrschnabel via Wikimedia Commons,

How exactly did Trump allegedly use his brand to appeal to teens? Well, according to the suit, when Trump joined the board of the nonprofit in 2009, it “distributed an edition of its magazine, ‘Success from Home,’ that contained an article titled ‘The Trumps of Tomorrow,’ announcing his involvement and featuring an interview with him.” The magazine also had an “image of four teenagers, as well as references to Trump’s children.” The magazine also featured an article in which Trump said:

“I think children learn by example. I’m happy to lend my support to charitable organizations like the SUCCESS Foundation that make a difference in the next generation of leaders.”

The suit also claims that by associating with the nonprofit, Trump “lent a gloss of legitimacy to ACN’s efforts to reach a new generation of potential recruits.”

The lawsuit itself was originally filed in October on behalf of four individuals and accuses Trump, his children, and his company from “pocketing millions in payments between 2005 and 2015 to promote what the anonymous plaintiffs described as promising business opportunities, including ACN Opportunity, the Trump Network, a vitamin and health product marketing company, and The Trump Institute, a seminar program that ‘purported to sell Trump’s ‘secrets to success.’”

As a result, the complaint alleges that President Trump and the other defendants “profited off the poor, seeking to enrich themselves by systematically defrauding economically marginalized people looking to invest in their educations, start their own small business, and pursue the American dream.” In essence, they allegedly “misled consumers about the likely success of their investments.” As if those allegations weren’t enough, the plaintiffs also claim the defendants “engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity and were aware that the vast majority of consumers would lose whatever money they invested in the business opportunities and training programs.”

The plaintiffs are being represented by Roberta Kaplan of Kaplan, Hecker & Fink and Andrew G. Celli Jr., of Emery, Celli, Brinckerhoff & Abady.

An attorney for Trump has yet to respond to requests for comment.


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