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Trumps accused of fraud over sham investment schemes

This article is more than 12 months old

NEW YORK A lawsuit filed on Monday accuses US President Donald Trump, his three eldest children and his eponymous company of seeking to entice people to invest in sham business opportunities.

The four anonymous complainants asked the federal court in Manhattan to grant a class action lawsuit so others can join the complaint.

They accuse Mr Trump and his Trump Organisation of having promoted to investors telecommunications marketing firm ACN, claiming it had sizeable revenue that never materialised.

The plaintiffs invested in ACN after watching promotional videos featuring Mr Trump, triggering significant expenses without ever reaping promised profits from their investments.

They described themselves as "working-class Americans," saying thousands more were defrauded by Mr Trump.

One was said to be a California hospice caregiver, another a Maryland food delivery driver, while a third is self-employed and previously worked for the Salvation Army charitable group.

"The Trumps conned each of these victims into giving up hundreds or thousands of dollars - losses that many experienced as devastating and life altering," read the complaint.

ACN is an intermediary for direct-sell telecommunication services such as phone and Internet services.

Even if Mr Trump insisted he was not promoting ACN to make money, he received secret payments worth millions of dollars for his services between 2005 and 2015 from that company, the Trump Network vitamin marketing enterprise and the Trump Institute training seminars, according to the complaint.- AFP

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