New Jersey and feds probing employment fraud at Trump golf club

Steve Jurvetson / Flickr trump golfing...
Steve Jurvetson / Flickr

Another day, another potential investigation involving Trump. According to the (New York) Daily News, this involves staggering employment fraud at Trump National Bedminster.

Anibal Romero, a Newark attorney who represents several undocumented immigrants who used to work at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, said Friday he recently met with investigators from the state attorney general’s office and handed over fraudulent green cards and Social Security numbers that management at the club allegedly procured and gave his clients, Victorina Morales and Sandra Diaz.

Morales and Diaz, for those who don’t know, are the two housekeepers who told NYT earlier this month that supervisors at Trump Bedminster knew they were undocumented (though Diaz has since obtained residency) and set them up with bogus documents. At least three more housekeepers have come forward since then.

Their attorney, Romero, says that this was SOP at the club. He said that the women felt “trapped” and feared their bosses could use the documents against them.

How afraid were they? Well, earlier this fall, Romero concluded that federal authorities needed to get involved. But he didn’t trust Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department—so he reached out to Robert Mueller.

Before he met with the state prosecutors, Romero said he reached out to Mueller’s office because, while he wanted to contact federal authorities, he was concerned about looping in the Justice Department, which was headed by Jeff Sessions at the time.

“I wasn’t sure, one, if they’d take me seriously and, two, if this could backfire on my clients,” Romero told The News, referencing the Trump administration’s aggressive immigration agenda.

Mueller’s office, which is separately investigating Trump’s campaign for possible collusion with Russians during the 2016 election, made contact and informed Romero the matter was not within their jurisdiction.

A few weeks later, an FBI agent in New Jersey called Romero.

“He said to me that he had received a referral from Robert Mueller’s office and that he already knew the specifics and that he wanted to meet with me in person,” Romero said.

Romero met with the FBI a few days later and gave them the same evidence that he gave the state prosecutors. While he has declined to say whether there is a formal investigation underway, he was told that the FBI would “coordinate” with their state counterparts.

The housekeepers are taking a calculated risk by coming forward, according to former federal prosecutor Harry Sandick. However, he thinks the supervisor could potentially be racked up as well.

“Immigration crimes are hard to prosecute so the government may see something like this as a possible deterrent case,” Sandick said. “To show that even someone who works at the President’s golf club is under the microscope is very impressive and tells you that anyone can be charged.”

If prosecutors have any sense, they will offer Romero’s clients immunity or some other sort of deal that will allow them to stay here. And if I were their supervisor, I’d have a lawyer on speed dial.

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