The New York State Tax Department is reviewing allegations that U.S. President Donald Trump and his family engaged in tax fraud. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 2 (UPI) -- The New York State Tax Department is reviewing allegations in a New York Times report that President Donald Trump illegally received millions of dollars from his father, Fred Trump, through tax fraud.
Tax department officials told ABC News it is "vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation," while a law enforcement source said the statute of limitations "makes any criminal prosecution all but impossible."
The New York Times report stated that Donald Trump received at least $413 million in today's dollars from his father's real estate empire and helped his parents participate in tax schemes in the 1990s, including instances of "outright fraud."
Donald Trump and his siblings helped their parents hide millions of dollars in gifts in a "sham corporation" and he helped his father take improper tax deductions worth millions more, according to the report. He also helped formulate a strategy to undervalue his parents' real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns to reduce the tax bill after the properties were transferred to their children.
As a result, Fred Trump and Mary Trump transferred "well over $1 billion" to their children and paid only 5 percent of the 55 percent tax rate imposed on gifts and inheritances at the time for a total of $52.2 million.
The New York Times reviewed more than 100,000 pages of financial documents, including bank statements, financial audits, cash disbursement reports and canceled checks as well as more than 200 tax returns from Fred Trump for the report. The paper also interviewed Fred Trump's former employees and advisers.
The records reviewed didn't include Donald Trump's personal tax returns or his recent business dealings.
Donald Trump's brother Robert Trump issued a statement to The New York Times disputing the report and stating the family wouldn't discuss the allegations further.
"Our dear father, Fred C. Trump, passed away in June 1999. Our beloved mother, Mary Anne Trump, passed away in August 2000. All appropriate gift and estate tax returns were filed, and the required taxes were paid. Our father's estate was closed in 2001 by both the Internal Revenue Service and the New York State tax authorities, and our mother's estate was closed in 2004. Our family has no other comment on these matters that happened some 20 years ago, and would appreciate your respecting the privacy of our deceased parents, may God rest their souls," he said.
Donald Trump's attorney, Charles Harder, also denied the allegations, calling them "100 percent false and highly defamatory."
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement disputing the accuracy of the report.
"Fred Trump has been gone for nearly 20 years and it's sad to witness this misleading attack against the Trump family by the failing New York Times," the White House said. "Many decades ago the IRS reviewed and signed off on these transactions."